Chinese president says relations with Panama "turn over a new leaf"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-17 23:53:31|Editor: Lifang
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Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a ceremony to welcome Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

BEIJING, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on Friday, saying bilateral relations have "turned over a new leaf" with the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Varela is making his first state visit to China after the Central American nation established diplomatic relations with China in June.

"Chinese and Panamanians have had friendly exchanges for over 160 years. Forging diplomatic relations on the basis of the one-China principle meets the aspiration of generations of people in our two countries," Xi said.

"China-Panama relations have turned over a new leaf," Xi said, adding that China will work with Panama to jointly draw a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations.

Varela said he was proud to make the historic visit to China in the capacity of president, fulfilling his long-cherished wish. He inaugurated the Panamanian embassy in Beijing on Thursday and visited the Great Wall on Friday.

"I have experienced your national spirit and resilience represented by the Great Wall. I solemnly reaffirm Panama's adherence to the one-China principle and support for the peaceful reunification of China," Varela said.

"As the Chinese saying goes, a man who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man. Your political decision to establish diplomatic ties with China and visit China is a feat of a hero," Xi told Varela. "Your contribution will be remembered in the history."

Xi said establishing diplomatic relations will benefit the generations to come and the two countries shoulder the mission to set the direction for future relationship.

Hailing the rapidly progressing bilateral cooperation in the past five months, Xi said China hopes to push forward cooperation so that bilateral relations enter a fast track.

China and Panama should treat each other on an equal footing and foster deep mutual trust. China is sincere in developing relations with Panama, featuring win-win cooperation, common development, openness and inclusiveness, according to Xi.

"Panamanian friends will see China's concrete actions," Xi said, calling for more exchanges in legislative institutions, political parties and local governments.

China regards Latin America as an indispensable partner for the Belt and Road Initiative, and both sides should synergize development strategies to complement each other, Xi said.

He said he expected early harvests in maritime, infrastructure, trade, investment and finance cooperation and active exchanges in education and tourism.

Xi said China's commitment to building a community of shared future for mankind reflects the world's aspiration for peace, development and prosperity.

China supports Panama to play an active role in China-Latin America cooperation and will work with the country to contribute to world peace and development, Xi said.

Varela said that Panama-China friendship dates back a long time, and his people fully approve the decision of establishing diplomatic ties with China, which is in the interests of both peoples, and will promote Panama's development and improve its people's livelihood.

The past five months have laid a solid foundation for the long-term growth of the bilateral relationship. The facts proved again the establishment of diplomatic relations is a correct decision, said Varela.

He said that Panama will work with China to strengthen high-level contact and people-to-people exchanges, promote cooperation in trade, investment, finance, poverty reduction and infrastructure, and cement coordination within multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations.

Varela said Panama is ready to be an important friend of China in Latin America and that Panama supports the Belt and Road Initiative.

He said Panama will take the advantage of its unique geographical position to cooperate more with China in ports, maritime affairs, shipping, railways and logistics to jointly implement the Belt and Road Initiative and improve world connectivity.

Varela extended congratulations on Xi's re-election as general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in late October. He said he agrees with the people-centered policies set at the 19th CPC National Congress and admires China's great achievement in social and economic development as well as poverty reduction.

The 19th CPC National Congress has set China's development goals and roadmaps up to 2050, Xi said, adding that China enjoys a bright future and history will further prove the decision to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries is completely correct.

Varela said that the 19th CPC National Congress, depicting a blueprint for China's future development, means a lot to China and the world. "I believe China and the CPC will make even greater contribution to world peace and human progress," he said.

After the meeting, Xi and Varela witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements in the Belt and Road Initiative, trade, investment, maritime transportation, railway, human resources, industrial parks, agriculture, quality inspection, civil aviation and tourism.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also met with Varela earlier on Friday. Li said the two heads of state had mapped out the blueprint for the development of China-Panama relations.

China appreciates Panama's adherence to the one-China policy, and is ready to strengthen political trust with the country based on mutual respect, equality and respect for each other's core interests, Li said.

China hopes to combine its advantage as a major trading country of goods with Panama's geographical advantage, to carry out cooperation in logistics network, Li said.

Varela said he believes forging diplomatic ties with China will help Panama's economic growth as well as win-win cooperation with China.

Panama expects to enhance cooperation with China in inter-connectivity and building of logistics, he said.

Panama will offer convenience to Chinese investment, and build itself into a center for Chinese companies' cooperation with Latin America, Varela added.

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KEY WORDS: China-Panama