Peru’s president praises participation by China

2015-05-25 00:21:17 GMT2015-05-25 08:21:17(Beijing Time)  Shanghai Daily

A China-FUNDED project to build a vast railroad between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, across Peru, will respect the region’s environment, including the Amazon basin, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said.

China and Peru have agreed to study the feasibility of the 5,300 kilometer transcontinental railroad that will connect Peru’s Pacific coast with Brazil’s Atlantic coast, Xinhua news agency reported.

The agreement came as Li arrived in Peru, on the third leg of a Latin America visit. Brazil and China have agreed on a feasibility study for the rail link.

“The three countries agree on the fact that the viability of this project will not only be favorable to our common development but will also protect the environment,” Li said in Lima, the capital of Peru.

“China respects Latin America’s biodiversity,” he said.

“To create the infrastructure, it is necessary to protect the environment,” he added in a joint declaration made with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala after they signed 10 cooperation accords.

The railroad could cost US$10 billion. Humala said it would “consolidate Peru’s geopolitical position as the natural entry to South America.”

Peru wants to position itself as the regional hub for trade between Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region and already serves as an outlet port for several regional nations including Brazil.

In talks with Humala on Friday, Li called for cooperation in the oil, clean energy, mining, agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors, Xinhua said.

Li also said the two governments should cooperate on financial issues, including a method to carry out trade settlement in local currencies, and a currency swap scheme.

The proposed transcontinental railway would reduce the cost of shipping grain and minerals to Asia.

 

China and Latin America would each benefit from the project by upgrading infrastructure, while allowing China to export its “industrial capacity” and investment, Xinhua said.

Humala said China’s participation in the project was “indispensable.’’

Outside the rail scheme study, the two governments also signed cooperation agreements on industrial capacity, energy, mining, infrastructure, quarantine, healthcare and aerospace.

Humala said China is Peru’s principal trading partner, with trade between the two countries more than doubling to US$16 billion since a free trade agreement came into effect in 2010.

Peru’s exports to China mainly comprise mining products such as copper, zinc and iron.

Peru and China have special historical ties due to the arrival in Peru between 1849 and 1874 of more than 100,000 laborers who helped build the Peruvian economy through sugar production, guano collection and the building of railways.

In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged US$250 billion in investment in Latin America over the next 10 years.

Li oversaw a raft of agreements during his visit to Brazil last week, ranging from a US$1 billion purchase of passenger jets made by Brazil’s Embraer to the lifting of an export ban on Brazilian beef.

He was due to arrive in Chile yesterday on the last leg of his Latin American tour where he will hold talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and witness the signing of several cooperative documents.

Bachelet told Xinhua she has “a very good estimation of the ties between Chile and China.”

This year is the Year of Chinese Culture in Chile with several Chinese troupes traveling there to give performances.

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