SANTIAGO, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Academics and diplomats from Chile and China are commemorating 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries with a week-long series of virtual conferences on bilateral ties, trade, culture, literature and academic exchanges.
An opening ceremony on Monday kicked off the cycle of conferences organized by the Confucius Institute at Chile's Pontifical Catholic University (UC).
UC Rector Ignacio Sanchez spotlighted the two countries' collaboration beyond trade, and in such areas as renewable energy, biotechnology, seismology and astronomy.
"The cultural and educational exchange ties between China and Chile are broad and, along with benefiting the development of the institutions involved, students, academics and researchers, certainly contribute to the promotion of mutual understanding between both countries," said Sanchez, calling for further strengthening academic and scientific cooperation.
Also present was Zhou Yi, the charge d'affaires of China's embassy in Chile, who said bilateral relations have been going strong for half a century driven by "mutual benefit and deep cooperation," and have seen "rapid development in the political, economic, trade, cultural, scientific and technological fields."
China, Zhou added, has remained Chile's largest trading partner for 10 consecutive years, and is the largest export destination for many Chilean products, such as copper, cherries, pork, with an eye to "deepening this friendly and successful relationship, despite the adverse situation of the pandemic."
Raul Fernandez, Chile's acting deputy foreign affairs minister, lauded his country's "correct, visionary and assertive" decision to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1970, becoming the first South American country to do so.
As part of its foreign policy, Chile "has been active in the multilateral field to strengthen organizations, to seek joint responses to a series of global challenges," and aims to take up joint positions with China on environmental issues and cooperate in the development of renewable energies, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the lead up to 2030, said Fernandez.
Chile's Ambassador to China Luis Schmidt underscored the rise in Chilean exports.
"The great factor (in the recovery of Chilean exports) has probably been the free trade agreement signed with China in 2005, which increased our international trade fourfold by 2018," Schmidt said.
In 2020, Schmidt said, the "big winners" of bilateral trade have been the mining sector and pork producers, which increased their shipments to China despite the global crisis.