SANTIAGO – Chilean President Sebastian Piñera departed on Monday for China for a state visit and to attend the Belt and Road investment forum.
Piñera took off on Monday afternoon from Santiago, and is expected to land in the Chinese capital on Tuesday.
The Chilean president is expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping; Prime Minister Li Keqiang; and Li Zhanshu, the president of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (the country’s legislative body).
During his visit to China, Piñera will also attend the second Belt and Road forum, taking place from Thursday to Saturday in Beijing.
The initiative, which is also known as the New Silk Road, is a mammoth infrastructure project launched by Xi in 2013 which aims to build a network over land and sea that allows Chinese goods to be distributed throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.
It has already acquired the Greek port of Piraeus with its state shipping company Cosco in the midst of the Greek crisis, but Italy now presents itself as a suitable gateway in Western Europe.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi announced last week that a total of 37 heads of state or government were expected to attend the forum, in addition to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde.
After the forum, Piñera will travel to Seoul for a state visit to South Korea before returning to Santiago.
Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero will lead the business delegation accompanying Piñera on his tour of East Asia.