Xi's video speech sends positive signal on China-Colombia ties

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President Xi Jinping delivers a video speech in Beijing to the people of Colombia. [Photo/Xinhua]

President Xi Jinping conveyed China's support and goodwill towards the South American country in his video speech to the Colombian people, sending a "very positive" signal on bilateral relations, local communities have said.

Xi delivered a video speech to the Colombian people at the invitation of his Colombian counterpart, Ivan Duque, as the third batch of COVID-19 vaccines provided by China arrived here on Saturday.

In his speech, Xi said he hopes that the governments and peoples of the two countries will make joint efforts to strengthen friendly cooperation in various fields including the anti-pandemic fight, so as to elevate China-Colombia friendly cooperation to a new level from a new historical starting point and bring more benefits to the two peoples.

Xi's message stressed that the most effective way to combat the pandemic and other problems facing the planet is international cooperation, said David Castrillon, professor at the Externado University of Colombia and a member of the Colombia-China Friendship Association.

"In his message, President Xi conveyed a central idea: through cooperation, not competition, we will be able to overcome the existential threats we face as a community with shared future," Castrillon told Xinhua. "The main crisis we face today is the coronavirus."

Colombia is not the only country that has received Chinese vaccines for its immunization campaign, said Castrillon.

According to data released by the China International Development Cooperation Agency last week, China is providing or will provide vaccine aid to some 80 countries and three international organizations around the world.

"This is how China is demonstrating real commitment to making COVID-19 vaccines a global public good, so that we can jointly overcome this crisis," he said.

Colombian trade leaders are thrilled to see the Asian country's willingness expressed in Xi's speech to strengthen trade ties with Colombia.

Jaime Suarez, executive director of the Colombia-China Chamber of Investment and Commerce, said he expects trade ties between the two countries to be strengthened continuously.

"President Xi spotlights the bilateral relationship and China as Colombia's second-largest trading partner. As Colombian products have become more popular in the Chinese market, such as coffee, flowers and avocados, hopefully this message will pave the way for new Colombian products to enter the Chinese market, products such as meat, shrimp and lemons," said Suarez.

Leaders of the cultural community also welcomed Xi's message, noting that the vaccines from China would help reactivate the cultural industry, one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic-triggered lockdowns.

"The vaccine is essential for the economy of our country. We have a very weak economy at the moment due to COVID-19 and ... this support from China for our country is of course very important," said Catalina Valencia, director of Bogota's District Institute of the Arts.

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