May 18, 2013
Regional leaders seek to boost Mercosur - China relations
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao held a videoconference at the Government House with their Uruguayan and Brazilian counterparts, José Mujíca and Dilma Rousseff, as they sought to boost relations between the Mercosur trading bloc and China.
Fernández de Kirchner assured that sealing a pact between China and the Mercosur creates a “historic opportunity” for the region, since the Asian power is “the world's greatest buyer and seller."
“This is a historic opportunity. Our great challenge is to have China come to an agreement with our region,” she said while speaking to the other region leaders via videoconference.
At the beginning of the conference, Wen Jiabao declared that China and the Mercosur share “common interests” and insisted on his will to “strengthen trust between them” and continue expanding bilateral relations.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff said strengthening ties with China was “very important.”
“It is very important to have China and the Mercosur strengthen their relationship in order to keep the crisis from affecting our markets and throwing its tentacles upon us,” she concluded.
Earlier, Wen Jiabao participated in a Congress event hosted by vice-president Amado Boudou. After leaving the Congress, the Chinese head of state headed to the Government House where he held a meeting with the President to discuss the bilateral agenda and formalize cooperation agreements.
Premier Wen Jiabao and President Fernández de Kirchner signed cooperation agreements on energy and agriculture sectors. The head of states also signed a compromise on a 2013-2017 strategic plan to boost bilateral relations amongst the two nations and agreed in a financial assistance for the Belgrano railway.
Last night, President Fernández de Kirchner received the Premier at a ceremony in the Bicentenary Museum at the Government House.
On the occasion, President Cristina ratified the strategic alliance between China and Argentina. At the same time Jibao recalled that back in 2004, then President Néstor Kirchner and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao signed the a strategic association between both nations.
The President also thanked the Prime Minister and the Chinese government for supporting Argentina on its sovereignty claim over the Malvinas islands.