Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Begins a Visit to Uruguay

China Vice President Xi Jinping began a visit to Uruguay in which is scheduled to meet with the South American country’s leading authorities in order to strengthen political, economic, commercial and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

Xi, considered the frontrunner to succeed Hu Jintao as president of China, was received at the Air Base No. 1 of Montevideo by the Uruguayan Foreign Minister, Luis Almagro.

His first public activity was at the monument to national hero Jose Gervasio Artigas, in the center of the capital.

Later he went to the Legislative Palace to meet with Uruguayan Vice President, Danilo Astori, first privately and then with ministers and senior officials from both nations to “discuss bilateral relations.”

The arrival of the Chinese authority, who travels with five ministers, responding to the invitation extended Astori during his visit to Asia in 2010.

After lunch with his Uruguayan counterpart, Xi Jinping moved to the Executive Tower, the presidential palace to meet with President José Mujica, the leftist Broad Front bloc.And finally, participate in a signing ceremony of agreements between Uruguay and China in economic, trade, cultural, social, industrial and tourism.

Diplomatic sources said in recent days that there are several purchase agreements for products such as wool and milk for more than $ 300 million.

In a statement released by the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry after landing in Montevideo Xi Jinping, the Asian giant’s vice president noted that “the friendship between the two peoples has a long tradition, following the establishment of diplomatic relations since 1988.

The 23 years have brought “frequent high-level contacts, mutual political trust, growing exchanges and cooperation in economic, commercial and cultural issues, and close cooperation in international and regional affairs,” he said.

Xi Jinping also said that during his meeting with Mujica will discuss “international and regional issues of common interest.”

This year China plans to grant Uruguay a loan of 8 million.

Trade between the two countries amounted to U.S. $ 1.496 million in 2010, with a deficit of 750 million to Uruguay, and in recent years the presence of Chinese companies in Uruguayan has gradually grown, especially in the automotive sector .