China is willing to Strengthen Cooperation with Colombia on COVID-19 Vaccines, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Thursday in a phone conversation with Colombian President Ivan Duque.

In recent years, China and Colombia have maintained steady and healthy development in bilateral ties, and practical cooperation has been upgraded, Xi said.

He stressed since the outbreak of COVID-19, the two sides have been offering each other sympathy and support, which embodies the spirit of standing together with mutual assistance amid difficulties.

China will continue supporting Colombia in the anti-pandemic fight within its capacity, Xi added.

The Chinese president noted China is actively fostering its new development paradigm, which will provide Colombia with new opportunities for cooperation.

The two sides should continue to support each other, dovetail the Belt & Road Initiative with the Colombia-China Initiative, build on traditional cooperation in energy, infrastructure, facilities and telecommunications and actively expand cooperation in new areas such as agriculture and animal husbandry, new energy, digital economy and creative industries, Xi said.

He also said China will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Colombia. “China is willing to conduct close cooperation within the United Nations and other multilateral frameworks,” Xi said.

Duque extended his New Year greetings to the Chinese people and wished them a happy Lantern Festival.

Noting last year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Colombian president said he was pleased with the sound development of Sino-Colombian relations, especially the fruitful results of economic and trade cooperation.

The Colombian side hopes to work with China to plan the development of bilateral relations in the next 40 years, he added.

“We thank China for providing valuable support to Colombia in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Duque said, adding that “the vaccine provided by China will help save a large number of precious lives.”