Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez arrived in Beijing Wednesday morning, starting his state visit to China as guest of President Hu Jintao.
This is Uribe's first visit to China after assuming presidency in 2002. During his visit, he is scheduled to meet with top Chinese leaders and attend a signing ceremony of some cooperation accords between the two governments.
Uribe's entourage includes some high-ranking officials and businessmen. Besides Beijing, he will also visit Shanghai, China's economic hub.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-Colombia diplomatic ties.
Prior to his China tour, Uribe told the press that he hoped it would help further Colombia-China economic and diplomatic cooperation, saying his government attaches great importance to economic and trade cooperation with China, and welcomes more investment from China in petroleum, coal, textile and farm irrigation.
The relationship has been solid in the field of politics thanks to the exchange of high-level visits and the two countries have supported each other in international affairs, said Uribe.
Colombian president hopes for closer ties with China
Colombian President Uribe has expressed confidence in more future cooperation and closer relations between his country and China.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua before his first official visit to China, Uribe said China's economic boom is a great opportunity for Colombia as well as to the world as a whole.
In the past two decades, China, which has made enormous progress in economic development, has become a powerhouse for the world economy and set a good example for other countries around the globe, said Uribe, who will be accompanied by over 160 Colombian businessmen during his four-day China tour that starts on April 6.
There is a great potential for cooperation between Chinese companies and their Colombian counterparts, said Uribe, adding that he will chair a forum for Chinese and Colombian entrepreneurs.
The forum will serve as a bridge linking the business communities of the two countries and promote cooperation to a new level, said the president, who took office in August 2002.
Uribe said his government attaches great importance to bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy and trade and welcomes more investment from China in petroleum, coal, textile and farm irrigation.
He also hailed political and cultural relations between the two countries since they established diplomatic ties 25 years ago.
The relationship has been solid in the field of politics thanks to the exchange of visits by high-ranking officials and the two countries have supported each other in international affairs, said Uribe.
Exchanges in culture and science and technology have increased and understanding and friendship between the two peoples have deepened, said the president.
On China's newly approved Anti-Secession Law, he said he understands and respects it, adding that the two countries enjoy mutual trust.
He pointed out that bilateral ties will be boosted further on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
Uribe is also scheduled to visit Japan on April 10-12 before returning to China to attend the economic forum on April 13.
(Xinhua News Agency April 6, 2005)