Foreign relations of Chile

Foreign relations of Chile

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Since its return to democracy in 1990, Chile has been an active participant in the international political arena.[clarification needed] Chile assumed a two-year non-permanent position on the UN Security Council in January 2003 and is an active member of the UN family of agencies, serving as a member of the Commission on Human Rights and participating in UN peacekeeping activities. Chile hosted the second Summit of the Americas in 1998, was the chair of the Rio Group in 2001, hosted the Defense Ministerial of the Americas in 2002, and the APEC summit and related meetings in 2004. In 2005 hosted the Community of Democracies ministerial conference. An associate member of Mercosur and a full member of APEC. The OECD agreed to invite Chile to be among four countries to open discussions in becoming an official member.[1] Chile and has been an important actor on international economic issues and hemispheric free trade. The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries.


Diplomatic relations

Status of the foreign relations of Chile around the world.

Chile does not currently maintain diplomatic relations with Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, Taiwan, or Yemen. Regarding Western Sahara, Chile has sent contradictory comments. Chile's Senate speaker Sergio Romero has said that Chile does not recognize Western Sahara's independence,[2][3] but Chile's Ministry of Foreign Relations website includes Western Sahara as an independent country with which Chile has no diplomatic relations.

Latin America


Chile and Argentina were close allies during the wars of independence against Spain. Argentine General José de San Martín crossed the Andes with Chilean independence hero Bernardo O'Higgins and together they defeated the Spaniards. However, after independence relations soured. This was primarily due to a border dispute: both nations claimed the totality of the Patagonia region.

Attempts to clear up the dispute were unsuccessful until 1881, when Chile was at war with both Bolivia and Peru. In order to avoid fighting Argentina as well, Chilean President Aníbal Pinto authorized his envoy, Diego Barros Arana to hand over as much territory as was needed to avoid Argentina siding with Bolivia and Peru. Barros succeeded in his mission: Argentina received the east Patagonia and Chile the Strait of Magellan.

However, border disputes continued. In 1902, war was again avoided when British King Edward VII agreed to mediate between the two nations. He established the current border in the Patagonia region.

The Beagle conflict began to brew in the 1960s, when Argentina began to claim that the Picton, Lennox and Nueva islands in the Beagle Channel were rightfully hers. In 1971 Chile and Argentina signed an agreement formally submitting the Beagle Channel issue to binding Beagle Channel Arbitration. On May 2, 1977 the court ruled that the islands and all adjacent formations belonged to Chile. See the Report and decision of the Court of Arbitration.

On 25 January 1978 the Argentina military junta led by General Jorge Videla declared the award fundamentally null and intensified their claim over the islands. On 22. December 1978, Argentina started[4] the Operation Soberania over the disputed islands, but the invasion was halted due to:[5]

The newspaper Clarín explained some years later that such caution was based, in part, on military concerns. In order to achieve a victory, certain objectives had to be reached before the seventh day after the attack. Some military leaders considered this not enough time due to the difficulty involved in transportation through the passes over the Andean Mountains.

and in cite 46:

According to Clarín, two consequences were feared. First, those who were dubious feared a possible regionalization of the conflict. Second, as a consequence, the conflict could acquire great power proportions. In the first case decisionmakers speculated that Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil might intervene. Then the great powers could take sides. In this case, the resolution of the conflict would depend not on the combatants, but on the countries that supplied the weapons.

In December that year, moments before Videla signed a declaration of war against Chile, Pope John Paul II agreed to mediate between the two nations. The Pope's envoy, Antonio Samoré, successfully averted war and proposed a new definitive boundary in which the three disputed islands would remain Chilean. Chile immediately accepted this decision, but Argentina still disliked and avoided acceptance until after the lost Falklands War in 1982. Both agreed to Samoré's proposal and signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1984 between Chile and Argentina, ending that dispute.

In the 1990s, under presidents Frei and Menem both countries solved almost all of the remaining border disputes during bilateral talks. They also agreed to submit Laguna del Desierto to international arbitration in 1994. Almost the entire disputed area was awarded to Argentina.

The last border dispute are 50 km (31 mi). in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field‎ from Mount Fitzroy to Mount Daudet that is still officially undefined.[6][7] In August 2006, however, a tourist map was published in Argentina placing the disputed region within the borders of that country. Chile filed an official complaint, sparking renewed efforts to settle the dispute which the Argentine government supports and urged Chile to finish quick as possible the demarcation of the international border.[8]

Since democratization in the 1980s both countries began a close economic and political integration as Chile became an associated member of Mercosur. Also both countries practice defense cooperation and friendship policy.


Relations with Bolivia have been strained ever since the independence wars because of the Atacama border dispute (Bolivia claims a corridor to the Pacific Ocean). The Spaniards never bothered to definitely establish a border between Chile and Bolivia. Chile claimed its limit with Peru ran through the Loa River and that Bolivia was therefore landlocked, while Bolivia claimed it did have a coast and that the limit with Chile ran along the Salado River. The border remained vague throughout the 19th century. Finally, Bolivia and Chile agreed, in 1866, to allow Bolivia access to the Pacific and that the limit of the two countries would run along the 24th parallel. The area between the 25th and 23rd parallel would remain demilitarized and both nations would be allowed to mine there. It was also agreed that taxes on the exportation of saltpeter would not increase.

However, in 1879, Bolivian dictator General Hilarión Daza increased the taxes on the exportation of saltpeter, violating the 1866 treaty. When Chilean-owned saltpeter companies protested, Daza expropriated their companies and sold them in a public auction. Daza then put an end to all commerce with Chile and exiled all Chilean residents in Bolivia (the Bolivian port of Antofagasta had more Chileans than Bolivians). In response, Chile declared war on Bolivia and occupied Bolivia's coast. Peru had, in 1873, signed a secret pact with Bolivia in which the two countries agreed to fight together against any nation that threatened either of them. When Peru refused to be neutral in the conflict between Chile and Bolivia, Chile declared war on Peru. Chile defeated both countries and annexed the coast claimed by Bolivia. This was ratified in a 1904 treaty.

Diplomatic relations with Bolivia continued to be strained because of Bolivia's continuing aspiration to the sea. In 1964, Bolivian President Víctor Paz Estenssoro severed diplomatic relations with Chile. Generals Augusto Pinochet and Hugo Banzer resumed diplomatic relations and attempted to settle territorial disputes. The secret negotiations started in 1973 and in 1975 diplomatic relations between Chile and Bolivia were established. That year, Pinochet and Banzer met in the Bolivian border town of Chañaral. Pinochet agreed to give Bolivia a small strip of land running between the Chilean city of Arica and the Peruvian border. However the Treaty of Lima between Peru and Chile specified that Chile must consult Peru before granting any land to a third party in the area of Tarapacá. Peruvian President General Francisco Morales Bermúdez did not agree with the Chañara proposal and instead drafted his own proposal, in which the three nations would share administration of the port of Arica and the sea immediately in front of it. Pinochet refused this agreement, and Banzer broke ties with Chile again in 1978. The failure of the Chañaral accords was one of the reasons of Banzer's downfall that very year.

Chile and Bolivia maintain consular relations, and appear to have become friendlier. Former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos attended the inauguration of current Bolivian President Evo Morales. Morales has repeatedly announced his intention to establish diplomatic relations with Chile once more, but has still not given up Bolivia's claim to the sea.


Chile and Brazil have acted numerous times as mediators in international conflicts, such as in the 1914 diplomatic impasse between the United States and Mexico, avoiding a possible state of war between those two countries. More recently, since the 2004 Haiti rebellion, Chile and Brazil have activelly participated in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, which is led by the Brazilian Army. They are also two of the three most important economies in South America along with Argentina.


Chile and Ecuador have been traditional allies due to their conflicts with Peru. Chile together with the other ABC Powers and the USA were among the guarantors of the Rio Protocol that followed the Peru-Ecuador War in 1942.


The two nations have maintained relations since the first quarter of the 19th century.[9]

On May 20, 1914, Chile and the other ABC Powers met in Niagara Falls, Canada, to mediate diplomatically to avoid a state of war between the United States and Mexico over the Veracruz Incident and the Tampico Affair. Currently both countries have signed a free trade agreement that went into effect in 1999.[10]


Chile and Peru had excellent relations at the time of independence, when Chilean independence hero Bernardo O'Higgins formed the Freedom Expedition of Peru, financed by the Chilean government for the cause of the liberation of the northern neighbour. Chile and Peru participated in a common conflict against Spain, the Chincha Islands War (1864–1866), despite their causes for war with Spain where different. Despite the Chilean port of Valparaíso was bombed and mostly destroyed by Spain during the conflict, the combined Peru-Chile fleet managed to defend Chilean territory near Abtao, and the Peruvian defenders of Callao managed to drive back the Spanish attack. In 1873, Peru signed a secret defensive pact with Bolivia in which it agreed to help that nation in case of foreign attack. The moment came in 1879, when Chile declared war on Bolivia. Peru refused to null its defensive pact with Bolivia, and Chile declared war on Peru. The War of the Pacific, as the conflict was called, resulted in a decisive victory for Chile, which managed to reach Lima and occupied Peru for a few years.

In 1883, Chile and Peru signed the Treaty of Ancón in which Peru handed over the Province of Tarapacá. Peru also had to hand over the departments of Arica and Tacna. These would remain under Chilean control until a later date, when there would be a plebiscite to decide which nation would maintain control over Arica and Tacna. Chile and Peru, however, were unable to agree on how or when to hold the plebiscite, and in 1929, both countries signed the Treaty of Lima, in which Peru gained Tacna and Chile maintained control of Arica.

Relations have remained sour because of the war. In 1975, both countries were at the brink of war, only a few years before the centennial of the War of the Pacific. The conflict was fueled by ideological disputes: Peruvian General Juan Velasco was a left-winger while Chilean General Augusto Pinochet was a right-winger. Velasco, backed by Cuba, set the date for invasion on August 6, the 150th independence anniversary of Bolivia, and the proposed date when Chile intended to grant this country with a sovereign corridor north of Arica, in former Peruvian territory, transfer not approved by Peru. However, he was successfully dissuaded from starting the invasion on that date by his advisor, General Francisco Morales Bermúdez, whose original family was from the former Peruvian (currently Chilean) region of Tarapacá. Velasco later fell ill and was deposed by a group of generals who proclaimed Morales Bermúdez president on August 28.

Morales Bermúdez assured the Chilean government that Peru had no plans for an invasion despite its tremendous military superiority. Tensions mounted again when a Chilean spy mission in Peru was discovered. Morales Bermúdez was again able to avert war, despite pressure from Velasco's ultranationalist followers.

Relations between the two nations have since mostly recovered. In 2005, the Peruvian Congress unilaterally approved a new law which stated the sea limit with Chile. Peru's position was that the border has never been fully demarcated, but Chile disagreed reminding on treaties in 1952 and 1954 between the countries, which supposedly defined seaborder. The border problem has still not been solved. However, former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and Peru's Alan García established a positive diplomatic relationship, and it is very unlikely any hostilities will break out because of the dispute.

Nevertheless, in early April 2007, Peruvian nationalistic sectors, mainly represented by left wing ex-presidential candidate Ollanta Humala decided to congregate at 'hito uno' right at the border with Chile, in a symbolic attempt to claim sovereignty over a maritime area known in Peru as Mar de Grau (Grau's Sea) just west of the Chilean city of Arica. Peruvian police stopped a group of nearly 2,000 people just ten kilometers from the border, preventing them from reaching their intended destination. Despite these incidents, the presidents of both Chile and Peru have confirmed their intentions to improve the relationships between the two countries, mainly fueled by the huge amount of commercial exchange between both countries private sectors.


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Austria See Austria–Chile relations

The first bilateral relations dates back from 1846. Austria has an embassy in Santiago de Chile and 3 honorary consulates (in Arica, Valdivia and Valparaíso). Chile has an embassy in Vienna and 3 honorary consulates (in Linz, Klagenfurt and Salzburg).

 Croatia 1992-04-15 See Chile–Croatia relations
 Denmark See Chile–Denmark relations
 United Kingdom See Chile – United Kingdom relations
  • Chile supported Britain politically, to a degree during the Falklands War. To an extent Britain supported Pinochet.
 Estonia See Chile–Estonia relations
  • Chile re-recognized Estonia on August 28, 1991 and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on September 27, 1991. Chile is represented in Estonia through its ambassador who resides in Helsinki (Finland) and through an honorary consulate in Tallinn. Estonia is represented in Chile through an honorary consulate in Santiago. The current Chilean ambassador to Estonia, Carlos Parra Merino, officially presented his credentials to the Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in June 2007.[13] Carlos Parra Merino resides in Helsinki.
  • An agreement on visa-free travel between Estonia and Chile came to force in 2 December 2000.[14][15][16] The two countries also have in force a Memorandum on co-operation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs.[14] Agreements on cultural, tourism, and IT cooperation are being readied.[14]
  • Chile is among Estonia's most important foreign trade partners in South America.[17]
  • In 2007, trade between Estonia and Chile was valued at 6.3 million EUR. Estonian exports included mainly machinery, mechanical equipment, and mineral fuels; Chile exports included mainly wine, fish, crustaceans and fruit. In 2004, 83% of Chile exports to Estonia, then totaling 2.4 million EUR, consisted of wine.[14] In 2008, Chilean wines held the highest share of Estonia's imported wine market, followed by Spanish wines.[18] Due to its climate being unsuitable for large-scale grape production, most wine sold in Estonia is imported.
  • In 2006, Estonia and Chile issued the joint Antarctic themed stamp series, designed by Ülle Marks and Jüri Kass, bearing images of the Emperor penguin and the minke whale.[19] The works of Chilean writers Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda and José Donoso have been translated into Estonian.[14]
 Finland 1931 See Chile–Finland relations

Chile recognised Finland's independence on June 17, 1919. Diplomatic relations between them were established in 1931 and have been continuously maintained, despite pressures at times to discontinue them.[20] The two countries maintain resident ambassadors in both capitals.[20]

 Italy 1864
  • On December 23,2010, a bomb exploded in the hands of a security guard at the Chilean embassy in Rome, following a nearly identical attack several hours earlier on the Swiss embassy. In the hours after the attack, the source of the bombs remained unknown, but the Italian press suggested an eco-terrorism link.[21]
  • Chile has an embassy in Rome and a general consulate in Milan.[22]
  • Italy has an embassy in Santiago.[23]
  • Both countries are full members of the Latin Union.
  • There are around 600,000 - 800,000 people of Italian descent living in Chile.
 Romania 1925-02-05 See Chile–Romania relations
 Russia 1944-12-11 See Chile–Russia relations
 Turkey 1926 See Chilean–Turkish relations

Chile was the first country in Latin America which recognized Turkey with the Friendship Treaty, on January 30, 1926.[24] In Santiago, there can be found the Turkish Republic Square, Atatürk College[25][26] and Atatürk monument.[27] The Turkish embassy in Chile is the first embassy of Turkey opened in Latin America. In addition Turkey includes a Chile Square in Ankara inaugurated on September 18, 1970 that contains the Bernardo O'Higgins Monument.[27][28] The Pablo Neruda square in Turkey was inaugurated in 2007.[27]

 Ukraine 1993
  • Chile is represented in Ukraine through its embassy in Moscow (Russia) and through an honorary consulate in Kiev.
  • Ukraine is represented in Chile through its embassy in Buenos Aires (Argentina).[29]
  • Both countries are members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Rest of world


  • Start date: 1992
  • Armenia is represented in Chile through its embassy in Buenos Aires (Argentina).
  • Chile is represented in Armenia through its embassy in Moscow (Russia).


  • Diplomatic relations date back from the time when Australia was a British colony. During the Australian gold rush, the population grew fast and Chile became one of Australia's major wheat suppliers, with a regular traffic of ships between Sydney and Valparaíso.
  • Both countries are members of APEC and the Cairns Group.
  • Australia and Chile signed the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement on July 30, 2008. The agreement came into effect in the first quarter of 2009.


Barbados is accredited in Chile through its embassy in Caracas, (Venezuela). Chile is accredited to Barbados from its embassy in Port of Spain, (Trinidad and Tobago) and maintains an honorary consulate in Bridgetown. Barbados and Chile formally established diplomatic relations on 3 October 1967.[30] Chile was the first Latin American country with which Barbados formally established formal diplomatic relations.[31] Both countries raised the agenda of rekindling ties in 2005 as a precursor to the attempted Free Trade Area of the Americas trading bloc. At current both blocs have discussed the introduction of a free trade agreement[32][33] and more specifically Chile and CARICOM have specifically noted the possibility of establishing a free trade agreement.[34]

Chilean President Ricardo Lagos visited Barbados on February 20–21, 2005[35] The Barbados Prime Minister later reciprocated by official visit to Chile in November 2005. As part of their meeting the Government of Barbados pledged support to Chilean-diplomat José Miguel Insulza for the post of Secretary General to the Organization of American States (OAS).[citation needed] In May 2009, Prime Minister David Thompson outlined his plan to further Barbadian relations in the Americas. As part of his outline he named Chile as one of three countries which he desired his government would further enhance relations with in South America.[36]


Since 1997 Canada and Chile's trade relations have been governed by the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement, Chile's first full free trade agreement and Canada's first with a Latin American nation[37].


Chile recognized the Republic of China until 1970, when diplomatic recognition was switched to the People's Republic of China under the left-leaning Allende. After the 1973 coup by the Pinochet-led junta, diplomatic relations were cut between Chile and all Communist nations, with the exception of China and Romania.

The strongly anti-Communist military government in Chile maintained friendly ties with the Communist government in China for the remainder of the Cold War, with Pinochet crediting the Chinese for abiding by the principle of non-interference in other nations' internal affairs.[38] China and Chile exchanged military missionsand the Soviet Chilean copper exports to China and Chinese loans The friendly relations were cemented by a share distaste for the Soviet Union, the Chinese diplomatic principle of non-interference in other nations' internal affairs, and a willingness to overlook ideological differences in the pursuit of economic ties.[39]

Chile currently maintains an embassy in Beijing, along with consulates in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

China maintains an embassy in Santiago.


  • Chile has an embassy in Port-au-Prince.
  • Haiti has an embassy in Santiago.


Chile recognized Israel's independence in February 1949.[40][41] Both countries established diplomatic relation on 16 May 1950, with Israel sending their first ambassador on that date and Chile sending their first ambassador on 16 June 1952.[40] Chile has an embassy in Tel Aviv.[40] Israel has an embassy in Santiago.[42]


Chile was the first country in South America to sign a trade agreement with India, in 1956. An ongoing dialogue has nurtured bilateral political understanding. The mechanism of Foreign Office level consultations was initiated in Santiago in August, 2000, and was followed up with a second meeting in New Delhi in April, 2003. However, high level political exchanges have been few and far between. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Chile in 1968, Transport and Communications Minister K.P. Unnikrishnan in 1990, and President Shankar Dayal Sharma in 1995. From the Chilean side, there has not been any HOS/HOG visit to India. As an indication of Chile’s interest in an enhanced relationship, the Chilean Minister of Agriculture visited India in December, 2001.


Chile–Pakistan relations refers to the current and historical relationship between Chile and Pakistan. Formal diplomatic relations between the two states established in 2008, when Pakistan opened an embassy in Chile. As of 2010, Chile did not have an embassy in Pakistan, though it had expressed interested in doing so.[43]

United States

Chile-United States relations have been better in the period 1988 to 2008 than any other time in history. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, The United States government applauded the rebirth of democratic practices in Chile, despite having facilitated the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, the build-up to which included destabilizing the country's economy and politics.

See also


  1. ^ Economic Department - Embassy of Chile in the United States of America
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^
  4. ^ See Argentine newspaper Clarín of Buenos Aires, 20 December 1998
  5. ^ See Alejandro Luis Corbacho "Predicting the probability of war during brinkmanship crisis: The Beagle and the Malvinas conflicts" (p.45)
  6. ^ "Border agreement between Chile and Argentina". Archived from 1998 the original on January 17, 2007. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  7. ^ "Map showing border between Chile and Argentina (partly undefined)". Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  8. ^ Tras la fricción por los Hielos Continentales, la Argentina llama a Chile a demarcar los límites "lo antes posible"
  9. ^ Inicio de relaciones diplomáticas entre Chile y México (in Spanish)
  10. ^ Free Trade Agreement Chile - Mexico
  11. ^ Chilean embassy in Zagreb
  12. ^ "President Mesić Receives Order Of Merit From Chile". HINA. 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  13. ^ The Estonian President received credentials from the Ambassador of Chile
  14. ^ a b c d e Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Estonia and Chile
  15. ^ Elektrooniline Riigi Teataja: Eesti Vabariigi valitsuse ja Tšiili Vabariigi valitsuse vaheline turistide viisakohustuse kaotamise kokkulepe
  16. ^ Visa-free travel between Estonia, Chile comes into force, BNS news agency, Tallinn - December 1, 2000, BBC Archive
  17. ^ Estonian Cabinet of Ministers: Prime Minister spoke with the President of Chile about the common interests of both states
  18. ^ Ärileht 4 December 2008 15:21: Eesti tarbija eelistab Hispaania ja Tšiili veine
  19. ^ Õhtuleht Eesti ja Tšiili ühine postmark, 25-10-2006
  20. ^ a b "La historia de las relaciones entre Finlandia y Chile" (in Spanish). Embajada de Finlandia, Santiago de Chile. 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  21. ^ Two injured in parcel blasts at two embassies in Rome
  22. ^ Chilean embassy in Rome(in Italian and Spanish only)
  23. ^ Italian embassy in Santiago (in Italian and Spanish only)
  24. ^ (Spanish)
  25. ^ Basyn - Yayýn ve Enformasyon Genel Müdürlüðü
  26. ^ (Spanish)
  27. ^ a b c (Spanish) Asuntos Culturales
  28. ^ Basyn - Yayýn ve Enformasyon Genel Müdürlüðü
  29. ^ Ukrainian embassy in Buenos Aires, also accredited to Chile (in Spanish and Ukrainian only)
  31. ^ Barbados' Prime Minister to Pay an Official Visit to the Republic of Chile, Barbados Government Information Service, 3 November 2005
  32. ^ The Organization of American States: CARICOM-MERCOSUR
  33. ^ Joint Communique issued at the conclusion of the CARICOM/MERCOSUR Ministerial Meeting - 24–25 February 2005
  34. ^ The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica - CARICOM/Chile Relations
  35. ^ Chilean President to Visit Barbados, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Barbados), Press Release dated 12 February 2005
  36. ^ Barbados Hoping To Expand Relations, Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS), 8 May 2009
  37. ^ Parraguez, Maria-Luisa. "Chile's Foreign Policy towards North America". Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA's 49th ANNUAL CONVENTION, BRIDGING MULTIPLE DIVIDES, Hilton San Francisco, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA (26 March 2008)
  38. ^ "Chile's Right-Wing President Welcomes a Chinese Official." _The New York Times_, June 16, 1987, page A5.
  39. ^ Sulzberger, C. L. "Chile and the Coldest War." _The New York Times_, November 29, 1975, page 27.
  40. ^ a b c "Bilateral Relationship Chile - Israel". Embassy of Chile in Israel. Retrieved 2009-04-15. [dead link]
  41. ^ "Relaciones Bilaterales: Revisión Histórica (Bilateral Relations: Historical Review)" (in Spanish). Israeli Embassy in Chile. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  42. ^ "General Info: Mission Details". Israeli Embassy in Chile. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  43. ^ Pakistan-Chile agree to expand trade

Further reading

External links

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