Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong inaugurated a Confucius Institute in Ecuador Monday to promote the Chinese language and culture.
The inauguration took place at San Francisco University in Quito, headquarters of the institute in this Andean country.
Liu uncovered a plaque for the institute and donated to the institute a copper bust of Chinese philosopher Confucius, together with books and 30 summer scholarships for students.
Chinese Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping said at the event that the creation of the institute was the fruit of the good relations between China and Ecuador, and coincided with the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.
"The institute is a milestone that symbolizes the progress that we have made in cultural exchanges and promotion with Ecuador. It will contribute to increasing cultural exchanges in the future," Hao said.
The director of the institute, Jose Salazar, welcomed Liu and named her "Doctor Honoris Causa" for her contribution to the promotion of the Chinese culture in Ecuador.
The institute will enrol 50 students, and all teachers are from China, Salazar told Xinhua.
"There is a lot of interest when students feel that there is serious study, good teachers, and a system for learning the Chinese language," said Salazar, who used to study at Beijing Language and Culture University, a prestigious language university in China.
Liu began an official visit to Ecuador on Sunday, as part of a tour to several Latin American countries.
She had met with Foreign Minister Rafael Quintero to discuss bilateral ties.
(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2010)