BEIJING – Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez spoke to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao of “the widely shared values of two countries working for peace and social justice.”
“We are geographically distant, but we agree on the defense of a multipolar world and mutual respect,” Wen said in greeting the Uruguayan president at his official residence in Beijing, from where Vazquez later traveled to Shanghai.
Vazquez said that the non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and the defense of freedom are other areas in which both countries coincide.
Before meeting with Wen, the president of Uruguay was received in the Great Hall of the People, where he met Monday with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, by the speaker of China’s parliament, Wu Bangguo.
After recalling that he had visited Uruguay two months ago, Wu told Vazquez of his satisfaction at the South American’s return to China 10 years after he did so as leader of the Broad Front coalition that is now in power in Montevideo.
“I’m sure that you have observed the changes that have taken place in 10 years and the country’s growing development. I’m sure that this visit will take (our bilateral relations) another step up,” Wu said.
Before meeting with political leaders, the Uruguayan president told around a hundred Chinese businessmen that his government’s goal is economic development aimed at securing social well-being, “which requires long-term policies and perseverance in diplomacy, investment and trade.”
Vazquez presented Uruguay as a “secure” destination for trade and investment at the Uruguay-China Business Forum organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, or CCPIT, and the Uruguayan Embassy in Beijing.
“They say that the 21st century will be that of the Pacific. I believe that it will be that of Latin America, the Pacific and the Atlantic. As Deng Xiaoping said, good relations between China and Latin America will be a model for South-South cooperation,” Vazquez said. “We have progressed, but we must keep going.”
The president recalled that trade between China and Latin America went from $31 million in 1960 to $143.4 billion last year.
The CCPIT vice president, Dong Songgen, welcomed Vazquez and said that China is Uruguay’s third-biggest supplier and No. 5 foreign customer, as well as the largest buyer of Uruguayan wool.
He noted that bilateral trade totaled $1.68 billion in 2008.
“China has economic power, the globe’s biggest currency reserves and significant investments overseas, but we are a developing nation that must collaborate with and learn from others in order to consolidate our growth. China and Uruguay are complementary,” Dong said. EFE