SONG CHEN/CHINA DAILY
Bright prospects for China-Argentina comprehensive strategic partnership as the momentum has been built on over the past 50 years
Establishing diplomatic relations in 1972, a strategic partnership in 2004, and a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014, China and Argentina have continually strengthened their relations. Their relations have withstood the test of time and the changing international situation, setting an example of solidarity and cooperation among developing countries.
The two countries support each other on issues concerning each other's sovereignty, security and core development interests and major concerns. China supports Argentina's legitimate claim to fully exercise sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands. Argentina has always adhered to the one-China principle. Both China and Argentina stand for multilateralism and promote democracy in international relations. When the two countries established diplomatic ties, bilateral trade was only $6 million. In 2021, it reached nearly $18 billion, a 3,000-fold increase. Argentine beef, red shrimp, wine and other high-quality agricultural products are well-received by Chinese consumers. China has become Argentina's second-largest trading partner and largest export market for agricultural products.
There are more than 80 Chinese-funded enterprises in Argentina, with project contracting and direct investment exceeding $10 billion. There are several major transport, energy and space technology projects, such as the reconstruction of the San Martin cargo railway, the improvement of the Belgrano freight railway, the Cauchari solar park in Jujuy, the Santa Cruz River hydroelectric project, the deep space station in Neuquen, the 40-meter radio telescope in San Juan, and the Atucha III nuclear power plant in Buenos Aires, fully demonstrating the fruitful outcomes and huge potential of China-Argentina practical cooperation. Twenty years ago, there were only four pairs of sister provinces and cities between China and Argentina. Today, there are 26 pairs. There are three Confucius Institutes and more than 20 Chinese language teaching institutions in Argentina.
In the fight against the novel coronavirus, President Xi Jinping and President Alberto Fernandez have exchanged letters and phone calls on many occasions. The Chinese and Argentine people have helped each other and overcome difficulties together. From China's supply of large quantities of pandemic prevention material to Argentina, to the cooperation in vaccine clinical trials and vaccine supply, the anti-pandemic cooperation between the two sides has continued to deepen.
The business communities of the two countries have overcome numerous difficulties and steadily advanced the construction of large-scale projects in various fields such as transportation and energy. China and Argentina have renewed their currency swap agreement and expanded the use of the renminbi in bilateral trade. The two sides have also expanded cooperation in new areas such as space technology, the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, digital economy and green development. Local governments and cultural, educational and artistic institutions of the two countries have further strengthened contacts and exchanges through online and offline integration. The traditional friendship between the two countries and peoples has been enhanced, mutually beneficial cooperation has reached a higher level and a new chapter has been written to exemplify the meaning of brothers being united as one.
Earlier this month, President Fernandez visited China and attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. President Xi and President Fernandez successfully held their first offline meeting. The two heads of state reached a series of important consensuses on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Argentina and announced the launch of the "Year of China-Argentina Friendship and Cooperation".President Fernandez's visit to China was a trip highlighting the two countries' friendship, unity, cooperation and confidence.
Argentina was one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of the Beijing Games. President Fernandez traveled thousands of miles to Beijing to attend the opening ceremony and spoke highly of it. It is a vivid reflection of the saying that "bosom friends afar bring distant land near" and fully embodies the spirit of the new Olympic motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger-Together".
The two sides have signed a memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road cooperation, marking Argentina's official entry into the big Belt and Road family and laying an important foundation for China-Argentina practical cooperation to make new strides. Argentina has expressed its support for the global development initiative and both sides have agreed to strengthen coordination under multilateral and regional frameworks such as the G20 and the China-CELAC Forum to jointly safeguard and promote the interests of developing countries.
Facing the profound global challenges, China and Argentina are more confident in adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and pursuing development paths suited to their respective national conditions. The two peoples have expressed confidence in deepening cooperation and achieving win-win results, which has instilled confidence in the international community to strengthen solidarity and build a better future. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, bilateral relations have reached a new and higher starting point with even broader prospects for development. I am confident that with the joint efforts of both sides, the China-Argentina comprehensive strategic partnership will be even more brilliant in the next 50 years.
The author is the Chinese ambassador to Argentina. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
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