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Chinese President Begins State Visit to Chile

Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Santiago Thursday to begin a state visit to Chile and to attend the 12th summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Hu will meet and exchange views with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar and parliamentary leaders during his stay in the South American country.

Hu said in a written speech upon arrival at the airport that he will discuss major international and regional issues with them and "learn from the experiences of Chile's development and success."

"I believe that the visit will expand our common ground, enhance mutual trust and cooperation," he said. "China-Chile relations will grow to a higher level."

Chile was the first among South American nations that established full diplomatic relations with China in 1970. The two countries decided to form a "full-range cooperative relations" in 2001.

Chile was the third largest trading partner of China among South American nations. Two-way trade reached US$3.529 billion in 2003, up 37.6 percent from the previous year.

(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2004)

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