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Uruguay, China mark 30 years of ties with cultural extravaganza

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Uruguay and China celebrated 30 years of diplomatic ties with an evening of traditional Chinese music, dance and acrobatics at the prestigious Sodre National Auditorium in the capital Montevideo.

Uruguay's ex-president Jose Mujica (2010-2015) and current Vice President Lucia Topolansky, as well as China's ambassador Dong Xiaojun, were among the guests of honor at the gala, which featured the Hangzhou Artistic Group.

The cultural extravaganza was also attended by Education Minister Maria Julia Munoz, who delivered a heartfelt message from President Tabare Vazquez, and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Ariel Bergamino, along with members of the diplomatic corps and the Uruguayan and Chinese community.

"These past 30 years have presented a very fertile path that has led to today's excellent level of ties between the two countries," Bergamino told Xinhua, referring to the Feb. 3 anniversary.

"Uruguay and China even have a strategic partnership established in 2016, on the occasion of President Tabare Vazquez's trip to China," said Bergamino.

Through the bilateral partnership, "we are working to further perfect" the relationship "in all its facets: trade, cooperation and culture," the diplomat said.

Bergamino also underscored the importance of high-level exchange in bolstering bilateral ties.

"Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi's recent visit to Uruguay was an excellent opportunity to fine tune relations and outline a pathway for (joint) work for the rest of the year," he said.

Anniversary "celebrations are going to take place throughout the year with cultural exchanges such as this by the Hangzhou Artistic Group," said Bargamino, adding Uruguayan cultural events are scheduled to take place in China in 2018, as are more high-level exchanges.

Via his education minister, President Vazquez said he was sorry he "couldn't be there in person," but that "the recollections of his experiences during his visit to China were still very vibrant."

Those memories "have stimulated and spread to the entire government team and the whole Uruguayan nation, to continue strengthening the ties of friendship, cooperation and mutual benefit between our countries," Vazquez said in his message.

The "expression of our fruitful relationship is the strategic partnership reached in 2016" and that "today propels us towards a higher stage, for which we are working," the president said.

Uruguay and China enjoy "a multidimensional and dynamic partnership, and this cultural event is a manifestation of that," the president added.

Ambassador Dong, in turn, hailed "the significant progress" the two have made in strengthening ties, and said the relationship "has a brilliant outlook."

The Hangzhou troupe is set to hold a series of performances in Uruguay as part of the anniversary celebrations and festivities marking the Chinese New Year.

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