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Li: 'Great potential' for Sino-Colombian ties

Updated: 2015-05-22 11:50
By ZHAO YINAN in Bogota, Colombia (China Daily Latin America)

Li: 'Great potential' for Sino-Colombian ties

Premier Li Keqiang talks with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota, Colombia on May 21, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Premier muses about coffee, ping pong and inviting soccer stars to China

With plenty of ceremony, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos pledged to deepen their nations' economic and cultural ties on Thursday during an official meeting in the South American nation's capital.

"Although the two countries are far apart, their economic cooperation has great potential, especially when Colombia is in a rebuilding process at the moment and is in need of infrastructure construction," Li said at a press conference after the meeting.

China and Colombia signed 12 agreements, including deals in infrastructure construction and more cooperation in industrial capacity.

"China is willing to import more agricultural products from Colombia, such as coffee," Li said. "If time permits, I'd like to play ping pong with President Santos.

"On the other hand, China is willing to see more Colombia soccer players and coaches come to China and help us improve in that field," the premier said in a reference to China's ambitions to improve its soccer prowess.

Santos said Li is the highest-level Chinese leader to visit the country in 30 years, and the trip will be a milestone in bilateral ties.

"Colombia highly values China's influence in the Asian-Pacific region," Santos said.

Li also sent condolences to the victims of the recent deadly landslide in Salgar, in northwestern Colombia, and pledged support. Colombia, located in the northwest of the South American continent near Venezuela and Brazil, lowered its annual economic growth target this year to 3.5 percent to 4 percent from an earlier target of 4.8 percent, as slumping oil prices have hit the country's economy.

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