BEIJING – Ecuadorian Defense Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa and her Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan, agreed during a meeting Tuesday in Beijing to strengthen bilateral military ties.
The meeting took place at the Defense Ministry on the first day of the Ecuadorian minister’s visit to China.
Espinosa is expected to remain in the country until Friday, with visits planned to Nanjing and Shanghai.
Espinosa’s trip will help to increase her knowledge of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and, above all, deepen cooperation and exchanges in the defense area, Chang said.
The Ecuadorian defense minister agreed with her host, saying that her visit “defines a broad and complete relationship” between the countries.
“China is the most important economic and strategic trade partner Ecuador has at the moment,” Espinosa said, noting the bilateral cooperation pacts signed in various areas.
In defense, Espinosa explained that there are five agreements with China already in effect, as well as a program in the Asian nation to improve the capabilities and training of Ecuadorian military personnel.
The training program also includes Chinese language and martial arts classes given by Chinese instructors at Ecuador’s Armed Forces University.
The Latin American country is also expected to explore other avenues for bilateral cooperation during the visit, apart from increasing ties with China in defense.
The Ecuadorian minister will visit several companies dealing with defense technology and industry, as well as a commando training academy in Nanjing which, at the moment, has an officer from the South American country enrolled.
Espinosa’s visit comes after the two countries signed a military assistance agreement in early September to strengthen bilateral defense relations.
Under the terms of the agreement signed in Quito by Espinosa and Chinese Ambassador Wang Shi Xiong, Ecuador will receive $4.8 million from China for military uniforms.