President of the Republic of Honduras Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento arrived in Shanghai on Friday to kick off her six-day visit to China.
This is Castro's first visit to China since the two nations officially established diplomatic relations on March 26, shortly after Honduras severed its "diplomatic relations" with the Taiwan region.
The visiting president received a warm welcome when arriving at her hotel in Shanghai, where the Shanghai Old Jazz Band played a Honduran song which was used as background music for Castro's inauguration ceremony as president of Honduras in January 2022.
During her stay in Shanghai, Castro has planned visits to a number of institutions, including the headquarters of the BRICS New Development Bank.
The next leg of her visit will be Beijing, where the heads of state of the two countries will have a "historic meeting" to jointly plan and lead the future development of bilateral ties, according to a news briefing by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
Honduran Foreign Minister Eduardo Enrique Reina, a member of the visiting delegate, said a series of memorandums, documents and framework agreements will be signed during Castro's visit.
Xu Shicheng, a researcher at the Latin American Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Castro's visit shows the Honduran government's will to conduct win-win cooperation with China.
China was an important trade partner of Honduras even before diplomatic relations were established, according to Xu.
"The Castro government hopes to strengthen economic and trade relations with China to promote its economic development and improve people's livelihoods," Xu said.
Chen Jining, Shanghai's Party secretary, met with Castro and her delegation on Friday night, saying that the city will strengthen cooperation with Honduras in fields like trade, culture and tourism, and that Honduran enterprises are welcome to invest in Shanghai.
Osvaldo Eloy Castillo Lopez, a member of a 21-strong media group from Honduras that arrived in China ahead of Castro's visit, said this was his first visit to Shanghai and China. He said Shanghai impressed him as a "modern, green and clean" city and he enjoyed Chinese food very much.
In particular, the journalist noted the great variety of coffee Shanghai has to offer during a visit to the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center, the year-round display and trading platform for the China International Import Expo.
He said that thanks to the establishment of the bilateral ties between the two countries, he believed there will soon be Honduran coffee in Shanghai.
"China is a great country with a strong economy and a long history. Being a friend of China will bring progress to Honduras and benefit our people," he added.