Chilean Ambassador to China: The CPC Has Done Extraordinary Work
China’s accomplishments can be attributed to the CPC’s extraordinary performance over the past century.
Editor’s Note: On occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Luis Schmidt, Chilean Ambassador to China, speaks exclusively to china.org.cn about his perspectives on the national transformation that the country’s leadership has managed to achieve throughout Chinese territory and how Chile has witnessed and benefited from these astounding developments. With permission of china.org.cn, the English version of the interview is published by China Focus.
In Schmidt’s view, relations between China and Chile have been developing constantly over the past 50 years through official exchanges. In this millennium, these ties are marked by successful connections in different areas. The ambassador noted that Chile, a country with a long tradition of people-to-people exchanges, was the first Latin American state (excluding Cuba) to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing.
In his opinion, this historic event defined a new era for both countries, which have ceaselessly strengthened cooperation at the bilateral level and on the stage of international relations.
A relatively recent event also marked a new direction in bilateral relations.
“We recognized China as a free market economy, which helped China to become part of the World Trade Organization (WTO),” points out the ambassador, who considers this event to be a turning point in modern China-Chile relations.
China’s entry into WTO led to better economic relations with Chile, which were again transformed when a free trade agreement was signed in 2005.
“It enhanced our bilateral trade to such an extent that, by 2019, our trade volumes had grown more than fivefold,” says the ambassador when describing the first phase of the commercial agreement.
Chile, inheriting the tradition of being the first to step forward on proper occasions, ratified the Free Trade Agreement with China, which included new terms and aspects that were more relevant to the times.
“We added a number of other industries where predictions were challenging, including electronic commerce… later on, we signed an investment agreement… we hope that the new free trade agreement will have the same effect as the old one, which allowed us to grow fivefold in a few years.”
The Chilean ambassador, who has had a long career in both diplomacy and the private sector, believes that these are proof of the brotherly ties between Chile and China, though they are separated by the Pacific Ocean.
Even during the pandemic, the brotherly bonds between the Chilean and Chinese peoples and the advantages of maintaining strategic relations are beyond any doubt. These are Schmidt’s priorities regarding bilateral relations.
“When the pandemic began to spread in your country, President Pinera called President Xi Jinping and offered to send infectious disease experts to help you fight the pandemic,” points out the ambassador, who also added that China reciprocated several months later, on occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
“President Xi Jinping spoke with President Pinera and offered him help against the coronavirus. Thanks to this, 68 percent of the Chilean population have been vaccinated, with 90 percent of the vaccines coming from China”, says the ambassador, who affirms that the elevation of strategic relations to the highest level has allowed both countries to engage in timely and precise dialogue.
“Relations are excellent. President Pinera was just invited by President Xi to participate in the Boao Forum in April. He was the only head of state from the Americas who participated through teleconference,” added the ambassador.
Ambassador Schmidt, who has maintained close connections with China since the 1990s long before he was appointed ambassador, is familiar with the rapid development that China has experienced under CPC leadership. In his opinion, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has allowed Chile to explore areas that were previously unconceivable since it became a BRI partner in 2019, including the possibility that the tech giant Huawei would build a 5G network in the country, and building fiber optic cables that will connect China with Chile and possibly other south American countries.
According to Schmidt, China’s economic, scientific and technological achievements have direct impacts on Chile. “If it works well in China, it will work even better in Chile,” says the experienced diplomat confidently.
China’s accomplishments, says Schmidt, can be attributed to the CPC’s “extraordinary” performance over the past century.
“Today, China has built what President Xi Jinping calls a moderately prosperous society, which has reduced the number of impoverished people by nearly 100 million and eradicated poverty. Today you have overcome poverty and built an economic, social and cultural system that is very well fitted to modern times,” observes Schmidt, pointing out that no capitalist country has made this achievement.
“Therefore, I congratulate the CPC on its centenary and its achievements in bringing the fruits of unprecedented development to the Chinese people, and transformations which were completed at such a rapid pace,” says the ambassador, adding that the success of this Asian giant, owing to the decision to open its doors to the outside world, is turning it into the biggest economy on the planet.