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First Ministerial Meeting of China-CELAC Forum Grandly Opens in Beijing Xi Jinping Attends Opening Ceremony and Delivers Important Speech, Stressing Firm Grasp of New Opportunities in China-CELAC Overall Cooperation to Jointly Write New Chapter of China-CELAC Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership

2015/01/08

On January 8, 2015, the first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) grandly opened at the Golden Hall of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony and delivered an important speech entitled "Jointly Writing a New Chapter of the China-CELAC Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership". Xi Jinping stressed that the convening of the first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum marks the translation of the bilateral overall cooperation from conception into reality, sends the world a positive signal of China and the CELAC deepening cooperation for joint development, and exerts significant and profound influence on the promotion of South-South cooperation as well as world prosperity and progress. China is willing to work together with the Latin American and Caribbean countries to, with the first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum as a new starting point, promote China-CELAC relations for new development at a higher level.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi Jinping extended warm welcome to the distinguished guests from the Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Xi Jinping pointed out that half a year ago, I had a milestone meeting with the leaders of the Latin American and Caribbean countries in Brasilia. The two sides decided to establish the China-CELAC comprehensive cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual benefit and common development and officially establish the China-CELAC Forum, which conforms to the trends of the times of peace, development, cooperation and win-win results, and should be called a creation in the history of China-CELAC relations. Over the past half year, both China and the CELAC are committed to building the new pattern of China-CELAC relations with integration of five aspects including sincerity and mutual trust in politics, win-win cooperation in economy and trade, mutual learning in people-to-people and culture engagement, close cooperation in international affairs, and mutual promotion of the overall cooperation and the bilateral relations, so as to gain in-depth promotion of mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. The China-CELAC relationship has displayed a new thriving climate with bilateral practical cooperation further expanded, people-to-people and culture exchanges further enhanced, international cooperation further strengthened, and overall cooperation further promoted.

Xi Jinping stressed that the current world is a world under changes, a world with constant new opportunities and new challenges, a world under profound adjustment of international systems and international orders, and a world with the international power structure profoundly changing in the direction conducive to peace and development. A large group of developing countries and emerging markets have gained rapid development, vigorously promoting the development of a more just and reasonable international order. It's just the right time for China and the CELAC to join hands and deepen cooperation. The combined area of national territories of China and the Latin American and Caribbean states accounts for one fifth of the total land area of the world. Their combined population accounts for one third of the world's total population. And their combined economic aggregate accounts for one eighth of the world's total. All of these form great advantages and valuable resources for the comprehensive and in-depth development of China-CELAC relations.

Xi Jinping pointed out that the China-CELAC Forum is a newborn, just like a young shoot sprouting out of the earth, whose sturdy growth into a towering tree needs meticulous cultivation of both sides. This meeting's outcome will particularly reflect the political consensus of both sides on promoting the China-CELAC comprehensive cooperative partnership, identify the key areas and specific measures in carrying out overall cooperation between China and the CELAC in the next five years, and formulate the rules for the Forum.

Xi Jinping pointed out that such cooperation initiatives as special loans for China-CELAC infrastructure, preferential loans, and China-CELAC cooperation fund that I proposed during the China-CELAC leaders' meeting last July are now being actively implemented. China has started to carry out the plan of providing the CELAC member states with 6,000 scholarships as well as 6,000 trainee positions in China within 5 years, the plan of inviting 1,000 political and party leaders from Latin America to visit China, and the training plan for 1,000 youth leaders of China and the CELAC. Meanwhile, the China-CELAC science and technology partnership plan, the China-CELAC young scientists exchange program as well as relevant work for the 2016 China-CELAC Cultural Exchange Year are being actively promoted. China welcomes active participation of the CELAC member states in the above cooperation programs.

Xi Jinping put forward four proposals on the future development of the China-CELAC Forum. First, adhere to the cooperation principle of equal treatment as well as the idea of friendly discussion, joint construction and achievement sharing, so as to lay a solid political foundation for overall cooperation. Second, adhere to the cooperation objective of mutual benefits and win-win results, firmly hold onto the main theme of common development, and strive for early harvest as well as realization of the effect of "1 plus 1 becomes greater than 2". Third, adhere to flexible and practical approaches of cooperation and carry out various forms of cooperation through bilateral and multilateral channels to achieve mutual supplementation of advantages. Fourth, adhere to the open and inclusive spirit of cooperation and take into full consideration different interests and demands of relevant parties. We welcome other regional organizations and multilateral institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean to actively participate in the overall cooperation between China and the CELAC. The China-CELAC Forum is not only conducive to solidarity and cooperation between the two sides as well as South-South cooperation, but also bound to make positive contributions to promoting world development and prosperity.

Xi Jinping pointed out that Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most promising emerging regions. The countries in the region attach more importance to developing friendly and cooperative relations with Asia-Pacific countries including China, which provides larger space for the comprehensive and in-depth development of China-CELAC relations. At present, the Chinese people are striving for the Chinese dream of fully building a moderately prosperous society and achieving great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and the people of Latin America and the Caribbean are also making efforts to realize the Latin American dream of solidarity and cooperation as well as development and prosperity. Common dreams and common pursuits have drawn the two peoples together closely. China adheres to the independent and peaceful foreign policy, sticks to the path of peaceful development, pursues the opening-up strategy of mutual benefits and win-win results, and adheres to and actively practices the correct viewpoint on righteousness and benefit, greatly appreciating faith, friendship, justice and morality. China is willing to closely combine China's development with common development of other developing countries, and jointly devote to building the new type of international relations with win-win cooperation at the core. Currently, China's economic development has entered a stage of new normal, and will maintain moderate-to-rapid growth in a period from now on. This will provide countries in the world including Latin American and Caribbean states with more opportunities in terms of market, growth, investment and cooperation. We should make joint efforts to achieve the goal of raising the trade volume between China and the CELAC to 500 billion USD and China's direct investment volume in the Latin American region to 250 billion USD within ten years.

Xi Jinping stressed in the end that China is willing to work with Latin American and Caribbean countries to jointly well build the new platform of China-CELAC overall cooperation from a long-term and strategic perspective, and to firmly grasp new opportunities in China-CELAC overall cooperation to jointly compose a new chapter of the China-CELAC comprehensive cooperative partnership.

President Luis Guillermo Solís of Costa Rica, the rotating presidency of the CELAC, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, the elect rotating presidency of the CELAC, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas, the rotating presidency of the Caribbean Community delivered speeches in turn.

Solís said that China-CELAC cooperation has gained substantive achievements in realizing common development and benefiting both peoples, and the China-CELAC Forum has opened up new space for expanding the bilateral cooperation, built a new bridge for enhancing friendship between the two peoples and laid the foundation for establishing long-term and friendly relations between the two sides. He hoped that the two sides strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such fields as investment, trade, connectivity, culture, education, science and technology and environmental protection, and strive to achieve sustainable development, united development and inclusive development.

Correa pointed out that economies of China and Latin America are highly complementary to each other. China could help Latin America to achieve economic and social transformation through support in personnel training, technology transfer, financing and investment and others, while Latin America could provide market space for China's development. China and Latin America could totally become strategic cooperative partners. China-CELAC cooperation is of great significance to establishing a fair and just international order, promoting multilateralism as well as jointly coping with global challenges.

Maduro said that the convening of this meeting is a historic moment, closely connecting China, which is committed to national rejuvenation, with Latin American countries, which are committed to integration. The realization of the initiative to strengthen China-CELAC cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping last year conforms to the common aspirations of the two peoples. The world is undergoing profound changes, and the peoples of all countries are striving for peace and development. China-CELAC cooperation embodies peace, progress and hope.

Christie pointed out that China-CELAC relations are based on respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and national self-determination, and will bring benefit to the southern America. The Caribbean Community expects to deepen cooperation with China in such fields as infrastructure, investment, trade, culture, sports, and personnel training.

Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Yang Jiechi and others attended. Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted the opening ceremony.

Prior to the opening ceremony, Xi Jinping friendly met with foreign leaders and heads of delegations attending the meeting, and posed for group photos to mark the occasion.

The first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum was held from January 8 to 9 in Beijing, with the theme of "New platform, new starting point and new opportunities---Making joint efforts to promote the China-CELAC comprehensive cooperative partnership". More than 500 people attended the meeting, including Foreign Ministers or representatives of China and the members states of the CELAC as well as regional organizations, and heads of relevant Chinese departments.

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