by Cristobal Chavez Bravo
SANTIAGO, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Relations between Chile and China have been diversified in all areas and are ready to take a leap forward, experts and diplomats said Tuesday.
A decade ago, Chinese investment in Chile "was very scarce," Alicia Zhu, Chinese market investment promotion executive at Chile's foreign investment promotion agency InvestChile, said at a virtual seminar on diplomacy between the two countries.
"Today we see how a new generation of Chinese companies are taking the second logical step in their business ties with Chile, settling in the country to develop their projects," Zhu said.
"In 2019, the portfolio of projects of Chinese companies backed by InvestChile grew by 167 percent, reaching an amount greater than 4 billion U.S. dollars. And the number of projects also rose significantly, from 20 to 31, representing a growth of 55 percent," she said.
The numbers reflect Chinese investors' growing interest in Chile, said Zhu, adding that "Chinese investment will continue to arrive in Chile" despite some short-term uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are in a position to visualize a qualitative and quantitative leap in relations between Chile and China," Chilean Consul General in New York Mario Artaza said.
Ties should be expanded in diverse areas, he said, noting that "diplomacy encompasses cultural, economic, political, military and public health issues -- diplomacy is in all current issues."
Artaza applauded Beijing's cooperation with the World Health Organization in fighting the pandemic, and praised the Chinese government's new five-year plan for attaching great importance to the issues of education, poverty, pensions, health, transportation, energy and technology.
"I believe it will also have a great impact on international relations," he added.
The seminar, as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Chile, was organized by the Confucius Institute at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile with the support of the Chilean and Chinese embassies.
To mark the occasion, the Confucius Institute has planned week-long events on diplomacy, economics, culture, literature and academic exchanges.