Colombian President Gustavo Petro will visit China this week, Beijing's foreign ministry said Monday, with the leftist leader seeking to strengthen ties with the world's second-largest economy.

Petro's visit comes at the invitation of President Xi Jinping and will take place from Tuesday to Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

He will meet with Xi on Wednesday, Colombia's presidency said.

The two will discuss progress on the construction of the subway system in Bogota - which is being overseen by a Chinese firm, it added.

His visit follows that of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro last month.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric also visited the country last week as part of a summit of countries participating in the Belt and Road, a vast Chinese infrastructure project.

And while Bogota has not yet signed on to that initiative, Petro, Colombia's first leftist president, has sought to deepen his country's ties with its second-largest trading partner.

His appointment of film director Sergio Cabrera -- who spent much of his childhood in China and served in Mao Zedong's feared Red Guard youth brigades during the Cultural Revolution -- as ambassador to Beijing was seen as part of an effort to strengthen relations.

"Although the Petro administration has not focused extensively on Colombia's relationship with (China), that relationship is poised to expand," Evan Ellis, a senior associate at the Washington-based CSIS think tank, wrote in a white paper last year.