by Weida Li Dec 13, 2018
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) holds a welcoming ceremony for Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno Garces ahead of talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 12, 2018.Li T Xinhua
China and Ecuador on Wednesday signed a cooperative document to jointly advance the Belt and Road initiative (BRI).
“China welcomes Ecuador to jointly build the Belt and Road and to promote cooperation between the two sides in infrastructure, agriculture, information technology, new energy, and environmental protection,” saidChinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno Garces, who is on a three-day state visit to China.
The two sides also ratified a further nine cooperative agreements related to assistance in criminal matters, police, agriculture, civil aviation and the risk management of volcanoes and earthquakes.
In addition, the South American country agreed a US$900m loan from China, which included the “lowest interest rate in history,” Garces announced on Twitter. Further, Ecuador borrowed US$69.3m for “reconstruction”, at an interest rate of 2 percent, and received US$30m in “non-refundable assistance".
The BRI is a multi-trillion-dollar project proposed by President Xi in 2013. It is China's attempt to create a modern version of the Silk Road, in order to boost trade and economic integration among the countries involved through investments in roads, pipelines, ports, communication networks and other such infrastructure.
A number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, El Salvador, and Trinidad and Tobago, have already joined the initiative.