The Republic of Chile was the first South American country to establish diplomatic relations with China, which took place on December 15, 1970. Bilateral relations have been developing smoothly ever since with a frequent exchange of high-level visits. A political consultation mechanism between the foreign ministries of two countries was established in 1988 and to date 10 rounds of consultations have been conducted. The two countries have signed a number of governmental agreements on trade, science and technology, culture, mutual visa exemption for diplomatic and service passports and investment protection. The two sides have conducted consultations in international affairs and enjoyed satisfactory cooperation in international organizations and conferences. In 1999, Chile was the first among Latin American countries to reach a bilateral agreement with China on China's entry to WTO. In 2002, China supported Chile running for non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2003-2004. Three cities or province-state relations of friendship have been established between the two countries.
In April 2001 President Jiang Zemin paid the first state visit to Chile. In October of the same year President Lagos paid an official visit to China after attending APEC Summit in Shanghai. The two leaders reached common understanding on establishing in the new century an all-round cooperation partnership characterized by long-term stability, equality and mutual benefit. Other important visits to Chile by Chinese leaders: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian (1987), President Yang Shangkun (1990), State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen (1993), Chairman Li Ruihuan of the CPPCC National Committee (1995), Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji (1996), Premier Li Peng (1996), Vice-Premier Li Lanqing (1997), Vice-Chairman Tian Jiyun of NPC Standing Committee (1998), Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan (2000), Vice-Chairman Cheng Siwei of NPC Standing Committee (2001).
Other important visits to China by Chilean leaders: Chilean Foreign Minister Clodomiro Almeida Medina (1973), Foreign Minister Hernan Cubillos (1978), Foreign Minister Jaime Del Valle Alliende (1984), President Jose Antonio Viera-Callo of the Chamber of Deputies (1991), Senate President Miguel Odero (1995), President Paricio Aylwin Azocar (1992), President Patricio Eduardo Frei Luis-Tagle (1995), Senate President Sergio Diez Urzua (1996), and Foreign Minister Jose Miguel Insulza Salinas (1997, 1998, 1999), President of the Chamber of Deputies Matinres (1999), Foreign Minister Soleda (2000), Senate President Senate Zaldivar (2001) and Procurator General Piedrabuena (2002).
II. Bilateral Economic and Trade Relations, Economic and Technological Cooperation
(1) Bilateral Economic and Trade Relations
Chile is one of Latin American countries that conducted trade and economic exchanges with China at an early time. In 1961, China set up a Commercial News Office of Chinese Import and Export Corporations, and it was renamed Commercial Office of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in 1965. After the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1970, bilateral trade developed normally. With a rapid expansion of trade in recent years, Chile has become China's third largest trading partner in Latin America, next to Brazil and Mexico. In 2002, bilateral trade volume set a record at $2.565 billion, rising year-on-year by 21.1%, of which China's export reached $998 million and import $1.567 billion, rising year-on-year by 22.5% and 20.2% respectively.
For years China mainly exports to Chile traditional products like textiles, clothing, ceramics, chemicals and medicine, hand tools and eletromechanical equipment, with the exports of machinery and electronic products and home appliances on the increase in recent years. China mainly imports from Chile traditional products like copper, niter, pulp, paper, fish meal and timber. In recent years China has begun importing red wine, marine alga, potassium sulphate and fruits.
(2) Economic and Technological Cooperation
The two countries started economic cooperation in 1989 and has made initial achievements. By the end of 2002, 19 Chinese invested companies had been registered in Chile, with investment totaling $26.95 million, most of which are trading companies with Chinese investment at $24.62 million. The major enterprises include CITICFOR CHILE S.A., trading companies like INTERSHANG SMIEC S.A. under Shanghai Machinery Import and Export Corporation. There are 51 Chilean invested projects in China, with contracted investment of $51.60 million and an actual investment of $31.90 million, which are mainly engaged in shipping, clothing, chemical industry, construction materials, food and metal processing. So far, China and Chile has signed 19 labor contracts with contracted value of $3.59 million.
III. Cultural, Scientific and Technological, Educational and Military Exchanges and Cooperation
(1) Culture and Education
Cultural exchanges between China and Chile began as early as in the 1950s and it has enjoyed a continuous increase after the establishment of diplomatic ties. In 1981, the two countries formally signed an exchange of notes on cultural exchanges and cooperation and in 1982 signed the Executive Plan of Cultural Exchanges for the Period 1983-1984, which was to be renewed every two years. To date, there have been altogether over 130 mutual visits and inspection tours by cultural, art, sports, health, educational and press delegations. In 2001, China and Chile signed an agreement on protection and recovering culture relics. In 2002, the two countries signed the letter of intent on inter-governmental cultural exchanges. A song and dance troupe of Yunnan Province visited Chile. The Art Exhibition Center of the Ministry of Culture held in Chile an exhibition of modern Chinese paintings. A Chinese film delegation participated the Valdivia International Film Festival. Chilean National TV station broadcast the item of "silk-road in China". President of Chilean Olympic Committee Fernando Eitel Polloni visited China and signed with China a memorandum of understanding on sports exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.
(2) Science and Technology
In 1980, China and Chile signed an agreement between the two Governments on scientific and technological cooperation. Since the establishment of the mechanism of bilateral Joint Scientific and Technological Commission, seven meetings have been held and more than one hundred joint ventures implemented. Cooperation on earthquake and astronomy has been going on well. In 2001, The two countries signed an agreement of cooperation on earthquake. In 2002, Vice-Minister of Science and Technology Deng Nan visited Chile, presided jointly with the Chilean side over the seventh meeting of the Inter-governmental Joint Scientific and Technological Commission and singed the executive plan on scientific and technological cooperation for 2003-2005. The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on animal quarantine and hygiene and a memorandum on cooperation by the joint committee between the ministries of agriculture.
(3) Military Exchanges
The two armies started their military exchanges in 1972. In 1979, Offices of Military Attaches were opened in each other's territory. Military relations have developed smoothly with frequent exchanges of visits in recent years. The visits include: Air Force Commander Wang Hai (1991), Defense Minister Chi Haotian (1994), Navy Commander Zhang Lianzhong (1996), Vice-Chairman Zhang Wan-nian of Central Military Commission (1997), Air Force Commander Liu Zhunyao (1998), Executive Deputy Chief of general Staff Guo Boxiong (2000), Chief of Staff of Armed Police Force Chen Chuankuo (2001), Navy Commander Shi Yunsheng (2002), Chief of Air Force General Staff He Weirong (2002) and Director of Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense Li Zhibing (2002) visited Chile successively. Chilean Air Force Commander Fernando Matthei Aubel (1993), Commander-in-Chief of the Army Pinochet (1993 and 1997), Commander of Armed Police Rodolfo Stange (1993), Defense Minister Edmundo Perres Yoma (1994), Navy Commander Jorge Martinez Busch (1996), Air Force Commander Fernando Rojas Vender (1998), Director of Armed Police Bureau Fuergatt (1999), Army Commander Yisuleta (2000), Air Force Commander Rios (2001), Vice-Minister of Defense and President of the Chilean Space Agency (ACE) Nelson Hadad Heresy (2002), and Director General of Armed Police Bureau Alberto Cienfuegos (2002) visited China respectively. Training Ship "Esmeralda" of Chilean Navy visited Shanghai in October 2001 and visited Hong Kong in 2002.
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