The COVID-19 Pandemic has presented an opportunity to promote understanding and technological cooperation between Latin America and China in the areas of digital economy, electronic commerce, media and public health, said academics.

On Tuesday, a panel of experts participated in the Ninth China-Latin America High-Level Forum, a virtual event organized by the University of Santiago, Chile and Chinese institutions, in honor of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Zuo Xiaoyuan, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the China Foreign Affairs University, said that Latin America “has long been considered to be an important partner and investment destination for China.”

In the context of the global recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, both parties “must provide each other with opportunities as a basis for lasting cooperation,” Zuo said.

“In addition to deepening cooperation in traditional areas … the pandemic has opened up new areas of cooperation, such as public health, long-distance medical treatment, online education, digital economy, e-commerce, and 5G, among others,” added Zuo.

Wu Hongying, assistant to the president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that “in the last 10 years, China has been Latin America’s second largest trade partner, after the United States, and the largest trading partner of many Latin American countries,” which has taken on new significance due to the pandemic.

“China and Latin America should jointly promote a new globalization and contribute to the progress of human society for the mutual benefit of their peoples in this new post-pandemic era,” said Wu.

The relationship between Latin America and China “has experienced and taken advantage of some dynamics featuring an increase in flights and airlines, exploration, digital interaction, health cooperation, as well as new areas of mutual interest, such as academic and educational approaches or science and technology,” said Eduardo Tzili-Apango, professor and researcher at Mexico’s Autonomous Metropolitan University.

To this end, he urged both sides to make use of these opportunities to bolster ties.

Rosario Santa Gadea, Director of Center for China & Asia-Pacific Studies at the University of the Pacific in Peru, noted the transformation of the Chinese Economy and the Belt & Road Initiative can be seen as an Opportunity for Cooperation.

Launched by the Institute of Latin-America Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Social Sciences Academic Press in 2012, the forum aims to promote academic exchanges and deepen the relations between China and Latin America.