SANTIAGO, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met Chile's parliament leaders on ways of boosting bilateral ties.
During a meeting with Senate President Camilo Escalona on Tuesday, Wen conveyed to him cordial greetings from Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee of China.
Chile is the first South American country to establish diplomatic ties with China and its parliament is also the first one in the region to set up a mechanism for political dialogue with the NPC, Wen noted.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 42 years ago, bilateral relations have withstood the test of the changing international situation and maintained steady and healthy development, Wen said.
"Today, President Sebastian Pinera and I decided to elevate our comprehensive cooperative ties to a strategic partnership, which is another milestone in bilateral relations," he said.
China is willing to take this as a new starting point to implement the consensus reached between the two sides and advance exchanges and cooperation in all fields for more fruitful results, he said.
Wen invited more Chilean senators to visit China, as part of efforts to enhance exchanges with the NPC and contribute to further development of the overall bilateral relationship.
Escalona said the Chilean Senate played an important role in pushing for the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, and has maintained traditional friendly ties with China.
The Senate is willing to boost exchanges with China, push forward mutually beneficial cooperation and play its part in further promoting ties between China and the region as a whole.
Also on Tuesday, Premier Wen met Nicolas Monckeberg, president of Chile's Chamber of Deputies.
Wen said China-Chile ties are based on mutual respect and accommodation of each other's major concerns.
In the new circumstances, both sides should further boost mutual understanding and trust, safeguard common interests, and strive to ensure the continuous, stable and sound development of bilateral ties, Wen said, adding the Chilean Chamber of Deputies can play an important role in this regard.
With the joint efforts of the two governments and various circles of both sides, the bilateral friendship and cooperation will surely reach a higher level, he said.
Monckeberg said the two countries share a wide range of common interests and enjoy bright prospects for bilateral cooperation.
The Chilean Chamber of Deputies is willing to boost exchanges and cooperation with China's NPC, and make unremitting efforts in enriching the strategic partnership between the two countries, he said.
Wen left Santiago Tuesday afternoon, after concluding his official visit to the South American nations of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.