MEXICO CITY, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Latin American experts on Tuesday celebrated the benefits of the newly-announced diplomatic ties between China and the Dominican Republic.
"It opens a new stage for the development of bilateral ties," Paola de Simone, an Argentine expert on international law, told Xinhua.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas signed a joint communique announcing the decision in Beijing early Tuesday (late Monday in Latin America).
The Dominican Republic is the second country in the Caribbean and Central American region to forge official ties with China in less than a year, after Panama established diplomatic relationship with China in June.
"Bilateral trade has huge growth potential. The establishment of ties will boost exchange in technology and education," said the expert.
Annual trade exchange between Santo Domingo and Beijing amounts to about 2 billion U.S. dollars, with the Dominican Republic being China's second trading partner in the region.
"Now, the exchange is going to grow larger through development of infrastructure on the island country, and probably with Chinese investment and financing," she said, adding "the Dominican Republic needs to update its infrastructure to provide more housing, build better roads and trains and develop its energy matrix."
At the same time, the Caribbean nation, already a tourism powerhouse that receives more than 5 million tourists a year, should see a rise in tourists from China, she said.
"Many Chinese tourists are sure to become interested to see the beaches of the Dominican Republic," said De Simone.
Latin America is a natural extension of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, part of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Following many other nations in the region, the Dominican Republic has also joined the initiative, said De Simone.
Ricardo Patino, Ecuador's former foreign affairs minister, said the establishment of diplomatic ties "is very good news," as it will pave way for closer cooperation between China and Latin America.
"Hopefully, ties between Latin American and Caribbean nations and China can continue to be strengthened," especially at "such a critical time."
Ecuador has long believed that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Latin America's largest integration bloc, should develop stronger ties with China, he said.
Ecuadorian political analyst Diego Perez said the Dominican government has "made the correct decision" to establish diplomatic ties with China, which reflects major diplomatic achievements China has made in the region.
The Dominican Republic "acknowledges the work China has done and is doing in the region," including investing in major development projects, said Perez.