by Xinhua writer Pei Jianrong
MEXICO CITY, May 1 (Xinhua) -- In just one year, ties between China and the Dominican Republic have achieved brilliant successes, China's Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Zhang Run said.
"A year ago, with extraordinary strategic vision and political courage, the presidents of China and the Dominican Republic made the wise decision to establish diplomatic ties between the two countries, opening a new chapter in bilateral relations," Zhang told Xinhua.
On May 1, 2018, the two countries signed a joint statement in Beijing announcing the move, paving the way for frequent high-level exchanges to boost cooperation, said Zhang, China's first ambassador to the Caribbean nation.
In November, President Danilo Medina became the first Dominican head of state to visit China, where the two countries agreed on a road map for developing bilateral ties, he said.
In the past 12 months, their respective parliaments has established friendship groups to promote ties, and dozens of commissions at all-level exchanged visits. The two countries have also built a successful framework for cooperation, signing more than 20 bilateral agreements.
Trade exchange saw a 22-percent year-on-year increase to reach 2.289 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, Zhang said.
In the first quarter of this year, trade exchange hit 630 million U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 35 percent, with Dominican exports to China reaching 180 million U.S. dollars, an increase of 403 percent compared to the same period last year.
Numerous Chinese companies have opened new plants or increased production at existing operations in the Dominican Republic, serving as models in such sectors as mining, footwear and medical equipment, Zhang said.
People-to-people exchanges are also on the rise, with a dozen Chinese cultural events held in the Dominican Republic since diplomatic ties were launched.
Last week, a Dominican delegation set a precedent by participating in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing.
"We appreciate the willingness of the Dominicans to actively participate in the construction of the Belt and Road, and are confident that with the efforts the Dominican Republic can become a regional hub that comprises maritime transport, aerial transport, postal services, tourism and export-based processing," Zhang said.
The two countries are just getting to know each other, said Zhang, and are poised to develop a fruitful relationship based on mutual respect, win-win cooperation, openness, inclusion and innovative interaction.
"China and the Dominican Republic are new friends, but in a short time, we have become good friends," Zhang said.
The results show the decision to establish diplomatic ties was the right choice, favoring the economic and social development of the two countries, and well-being of the two peoples, he added.
"Our ties are the outcome of historical tendencies and will pass the test of time," the Chinese ambassador said.