SANTIAGO, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Chile will set a new milestone in the development of bilateral relations, China's ambassador to the South American country said Tuesday.
Wen's Chile trip, the first by a Chinese premier in 16 years, will further consolidate bilateral friendship and mutual trust and expand their cooperation, Yang Wanming told Xinhua in an interview.
The visit, scheduled for June 25-26, will also promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and bring new strategic content to the China-Chile relationship, Yang said.
China-Chile ties have witnessed smooth development in recent decades, Yang said, noting that Chile is not only the first South American country to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China but the first Latin American country to recognize China's full market economy status and sign a bilateral free trade agreement with China.
Their relationship has enjoyed fast-track growth since the two countries established a partnership of comprehensive cooperation in 2004, he added.
In recent years, the two countries have carried out frequent exchanges of high-level visits, with mutual political trust growing steadily, Yang said.
They have also cooperated closely on such major issues as reforms of the global financial system, sustainable development and climate change in their joint efforts to safeguard the common interests of developing countries, Yang said.
Economic and trade cooperation has been an important component of their overall relationship, with two-way trade surpassing 30 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, said Yang, noting that China is now Chile's largest trading partner while Chile is China's third largest in Latin America.
Meanwhile, the two countries have rolled out various cultural programs in recent years to promote mutual understanding, he said, while noting that two Confucius Institutes have been established in Chile to meet the growing interest in the Chinese language among the Chilean public.
In addition, the two sides have also cooperated fruitfully in such technological sectors as astronomy, agriculture and renewable energy, the ambassador said.
Noting that Wen will propose new measures to enhance China's relations with Latin America in an address before the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Yang said the visit will also cast far-reaching influence on the development of China-Latin America ties.