QUITO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno's state visit to China will strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Ecuador Wang Yulin said.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Wang held Ecuador as "a very important partner ... for pragmatic cooperation in the region," highlighting the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
The visit, scheduled for Tuesday to Thursday, will actively improve bilateral cooperation to yield "growth, maturity and shared gains in the process of cooperation," Wang told Xinhua in a recent interview.
The trip will mark Moreno's first visit to China since he took office on May 24, 2017.
The two countries raised ties to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership in November 2016, during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Ecuador, the first by a Chinese head of state to the South American country since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1980.
Wang said he has witnessed numerous "memorable historic moments" in bilateral ties in the past three years as ambassador.
Pragmatic cooperation between China and Ecuador in diverse areas has a "broad future," said Wang.
Bilateral ties "have quickly progressed," especially following Xi's visit, and "are at a historic peak," the ambassador said.
The two countries are stepping up exchange in a range of areas, from trade and economy to politics, science and technology, as well as culture and education, he added.
China responded rapidly and effectively when Ecuador was hit by a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that ravaged communities along the country's northern coast on April 16, 2016, leaving 673 people dead and extensive structural damage.
"The Chinese government and people felt empathy for the Ecuadorian government and people suffering from the disaster, and offered timely aid," said Wang. "Close friendship shortens distances."
Despite being separated by vast oceans, China and Ecuador "have become good friends with sincerity and mutual trust, and good partners in mutually beneficial cooperation," said the ambassador.
He said the two countries have collaborated closely and supported one another in international and regional affairs.
Ecuador "has not only been a strategic partner in energy (cooperation), a target country for Chinese financing and investment, and a market for infrastructure works, but also a trade partner with great potential in Latin America," said Wang.
He noted that China is now Ecuador's second-largest trade partner after the United States, with bilateral exchange amounting to 4.62 billion U.S. dollars during the first 10 months of 2018, which marks a year-on-year increase of 36.6 percent.
"More and more Ecuadorian bananas and shrimp are served at Chinese tables, and Ecuadorian roses are well-liked by Chinese consumers," said Wang.
Currently, more than 90 Chinese companies are operating in Ecuador in sectors including energy, mining, construction and infrastructure.
Wang highlighted that many projects involving Chinese companies have become emblems of the strategic bilateral cooperation, leading to tangible benefits for the Ecuadorian people.
In January, at the second ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Forum held in Santiago, Chile, Ecuador expressed an interest in participating in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative to boost global trade and infrastructure, the diplomat said.
Despite the geographic distance, there is "great potential and a positive outlook in bilateral cooperation in all fields," said Wang. "Those who unite behind same ideals can overcome all physical distance."