|Image provided by Chile's Presidency shows Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (L) and President-elect Michelle Bachelet pose for a photo in Santiago, capital of Chile, on Dec. 16, 2013. (Xinhua/Chile's Presidency)
SANTIAGO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Promoting "stronger but more flexible ties with the Asian Pacific region" will be a foreign policy priority for the government of Chile's president-elect Michelle Bachelet.
Bachelet, the victorious center-left candidate to assume the presidency for the second time on March 11, 2014, was elected Sunday with 62 percent of the votes, defeating conservative ruling-party candidate Evelyn Matthei, who got nearly 38 percent.
According to Bachelet's government program, "the importance of the (Asia-Pacific) region is reinforced by the strategic contribution it could provide to our country's projection in Latin America and the Caribbean in general, and with South America in particular."
"The axis of 21st-century foreign policy is in the Pacific," the platform points out.
During her first presidential term (2006-2010), Bachelet strengthened ties with China, a country she visited more than once. She also met with China's then President Hu Jintao several times. The 2006 China-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) also came into force during her presidency.
"Chile should consolidate its status as a 'port country' and 'bridge country' among countries in Latin America's Southern Atlantic and the Asian Pacific, which requires improving inter-connectivity, increasing the capacity of our ports, and maximizing our services," the program further states.
Chile "has the ability to play a linking role between the economies on both sides of the Pacific, taking advantage of the strong trade ties we have in the region, as well as our large network of Free Trade Agreements," the document adds.
"That is why we will support collective Latin American ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)."
Meanwhile, the document expresses "concern about the urgency to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for free trade, which is now promoted by the United States and includes Chile as well as another 10 countries."
Bachelet's platform also proposes that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) serve "as a means of political coordination in the region."
"We value the integration efforts of the Pacific Alliance (comprising Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico), but we will orient our participation in this initiative so that it is not exclusive of or in conflict with other existing projects of integration in the region, in which Chile also participates," it adds.
Bachelet wins Chile's presidency
SANTIAGO, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chile's center-left New Majority opposition candidate Michelle Bachelet was declared winner in Chile's presidential run-off Sunday, becoming the first woman in Chile to be elected as the president twice.
Bachelet garnered 3.5 million, or 62 percent, of the votes against 2 million, or 38 percent, of ballots for her rival Evelyn Matthei, the ruling conservative party candidate, according to Chile's Electoral Service (Servel). Full story
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Chile kicks off presidential run-off vote
SANTIAGO, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- More than 13.5 million Chileans went to the polls Sunday to choose their new president in a run-off vote between two female candidates.
Polling stations opened at 8:00 a.m. local time (1100 GMT) and are expected to close at 6:00 p.m. (2100 GMT). Results are due shortly after voting ends. Full story