On the afternoon of May 9, 2012, President Hu Jintao held talks with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the Great Hall of the People. Both sides had an in-depth exchange of views and reached broad consensus on developing bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern.
Hu made positive comments on China-Colombia relations and appreciated the Colombian government for adhering to the one-China policy and taking the development of relations with China as a priority of the Colombian foreign policy. "Facts have proven that a cooperative China-Colombia friendly cooperative relationship built on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit has strong vitality and broad potential for growth," Hu said.
Santos said recent years have witnessed smooth development of bilateral ties. Colombia is actively committed to promoting its national economic development as well as regional peace and stability. He said Colombia regards China as an important partner, expressing readiness to strengthen friendly cooperation with China.
"The Chinese side places great importance on China-Colombia relations," Hu said, adding that China always regards Colombia as a good friend and partner in Latin America. Hu put forward a four-point proposal on deepening bilateral relations. Firstly, Hu said the two countries should strengthen contacts and enhance mutual trust in the political area so as to secure long-term friendship. He said high-ranking officials, government departments, legislatures and political parties of the two countries should strengthen dialogues and exchanges in a bid to better understand and support each other on major issues of their own concern. Secondly, Hu said the two countries should tap into the potential of mutually beneficial cooperation and jointly achieve common development in the economic area. The two sides should actively explore new ways of deepening economic cooperation, promote growth of trade and two-way investment and expand cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, energy, mining, water conservation, telecommunications and agriculture. "The financial institutions of both countries should expand business links and provide financial services for bilateral trade, economic and technological cooperation," Hu said. Thirdly, Hu said the two countries should enrich the content of people-to-people exchanges so as to deepen friendship. The two sides should adopt various ways to expand cooperation in cultural, educational, broadcasting, TV, film and disaster reduction areas. The two sides should step up friendly contact between young people, non-governmental sectors and local governments by staging a series of exchanging activities. Fourthly, Hu said, the two countries should strengthen consultation and coordination on international affairs. The two sides should keep closer coordination in international and regional affairs, join hands to address global challenges and promote all-round development of bilateral relations.
Santos said bilateral relations have huge potential and are facing rare opportunities for further growth. He said Colombia is ready to maintain high-level exchanges and contact in order to deepen mutual understanding. Santos expressed a wish to step up bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, investment and agriculture, saying Colombia will create favorable conditions for Chinese companies to invest in infrastructure, energy and resources. "Colombia holds a positive attitude toward the discussion of a free trade agreement between the two countries," Santos said. He said Colombia has encouraged people-to-people exchanges with China in order to deepen their friendship. In the face of a complex and changing international situation, Colombia is ready to strengthen cooperation with China on major regional and international issues, Santos said. He said Colombia is ready to join hands with China to address the challenges of global economic governance, climate change and sustainable growth in order to safeguard common interests and realize common development. Santos said Colombia is ready to play an active role in advancing the development of relations between Latin America and China.
After the talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of several bilateral cooperative agreements concerning economy, technology and other areas.
Prior to the meeting, President Hu held a welcome ceremony for Santos at the North Hall of the Great Hall of the People. NPC Vice Chairman Chen Changzhi, State Councilor Dai Bingguo, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Sun Jiazheng, Vice Chairman Yang Bangjie of the Central Committee of China Zhi Gong Party, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission of China Zhang Ping, Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and Chinese ambassador to Colombia Wang Xiaoyuan attended the welcome ceremony.