QUITO, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Ties between China and Latin America will continue to grow after having expanded over the past 10 years largely driven by China's emphasis on South-South cooperation, investment and trade, Latin American political observers say.
"I believe we have seen a decade in which China has become a reliable partner, and it continues to be a crucial partner for Latin America," said Katalina Barreiro, an expert in Political Science and International Relations at Ecuador's Institute of Advanced National Studies.
Latin America also has untapped potential for the Asian giant, "perhaps not in the same strong areas as China has, such as technology and manufacturing, but in resources, such as tourism," said Barreiro.
A "highly qualified workforce," along with abundant natural resources and a well-developed structure, make the region "very attractive," she said.
These factors have raised hopes in the region that ties will continue to grow with a country that "is increasingly positioned as a global power," said Barreiro.
Today China is the "perfect strategic partner" investing in countries throughout the region, guided by complementarity instead of ideology or self-interests, she noted.
Chinese leaders have conveyed the message that Latin America forms an important part of China's agenda. "China is increasingly interested in having a strategic partnership in Latin America in diverse areas, ranging from production to credit," Barreiro said.
"That is essential for generating good diplomatic relations between countries," said Barreiro, a former diplomat.
Latin America's changing political landscape, including conservative governments coming to power in Argentina and Brazil, is unlikely to affect future ties, according to her.
"I don't see the relationship changing due to ideological changes that may occur in the presidencies of Latin American countries," given that the relationship has been built on the concept of cooperation for mutual benefit.
Milton Reyes, a professor and researcher of Latin American affairs, said China has been "very pragmatic" in forging ties across the Latin American continent.
If a Latin American country "is interested solely in trade matters, then that will be the prevailing factor," said Reyes.
If, "as in the case of Argentina, Ecuador and Venezuela, they propose stronger ties due to their structural and financing needs, China has been willing to expand ties to those areas we well," he said.
Ecuador, for example, has sought to strengthen bilateral relationship to expand cooperation and generate new trade opportunities in the Chinese market, as well as to promote direct investment from China and to access greater financing.
As a result, dozens of Chinese companies are currently investing in Ecuador's mining, infrastructure and energy projects with no political strings attached, Reyes said.
Growing ties between the two regions led China and Latin America's largest integration bloc, the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), to adopt a joint five-year plan in 2015 calling for cooperation in a wide range of fields, from security to trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, education, science and technology.
The plan was adopted during the first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum, held in January 2015 in Beijing.
The two sides also pledged to increase bilateral trade to 500 billion U.S. dollars, and to boost investment to 250 billion dollars in a period of 10 years.