China's ambassador to Argentina and the president of the University of Buenos Aires signed an agreement in Buenos Aires on Wednesday to open the first Confucius Institute in Argentina.
All participants at the signing ceremony observed a one-minute silence for the victims of the deadly earthquake that hit southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 12.
Ambassador Zeng Gang said bilateral exchanges between China and Argentina developed rapidly in recent years and the two peoples wanted to know more about each other.
He said that over 20 universities or cultural institutes in Argentina currently offer Chinese language courses, and thousands of Argentines are learning the Chinese language and culture.
Ruben Hallu, president of the University of Buenos Aires, said cultural exchanges between Argentina and China were becoming increasingly important as bilateral relations grew closer.
The Confucius Institute is expected to be inaugurated within this year if everything goes well, according to the Chinese embassy.
In April, the first Confucius Institute in South America was co-established in Chile by China's Anhui University and the Saint Thomas University of Chile.
(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2008)