Xi’s Latin America trip to usher in new era
The visit shows that China and Latin America are striving for win-win cooperation and common development under the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit ...
President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to Latin America is expected to improve the all-round cooperative partnership and usher in a new era of bilateral relations. Xi will pay state visits to Ecuador, Peru and Chile from Nov 17 to Nov 23, and attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting from Nov 19 to 20 in Lima, Peru.
This will be Xi’s third visit to Latin America since he took the presidency inMarch 2013, and the visit to Ecuador will be the first since diplomatic relations between the two countries began in 1980.
The visit shows that China and Latin America are striving for win-win cooperation and common development under the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit and mutual learning.
During Xi’s visit, China will discuss free trade arrangements and cooperation in e-commerce, production capacity, industrial parks and infrastructure.
At present, affected by a weaker global market and the falling prices of commodities, Latin America needs capital and technology to improve its manufacturing capabilities, reduce its dependence on the export of rawmaterials and boost economic transformation.
As China has cost-effective equipment, and Latin America needs infrastructure and industrial upgrading, Xi’s visit comes at a time when there are ample opportunities to expand the current relationship.
In fact, China-Latin America ties have been improving. Back in July 2014, Xi and leaders from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) announced the establishment of the China-CELAC Forum. In January 2015, China and the CELAC inked a five-year cooperation plan at the first ministerial meeting of the cooperation forum in Beijing.
The cooperation forum marked a newera of mutual benefit and common development and improved bilateral cooperation in various fields.
In the political sphere, ties have been propelled forward by the exchanges of high-level visits. Peru, the first country in the Latin America to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China, will be Xi’s second leg of the visit. Xi’s visit to Peru comes hot on the heels of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s state visit to China in September, which was his first state visit since he assumed the presidency.
Such frequent high-level visits are sure to consolidate traditional friendship and pave the way for future cooperation.
Chile, the last leg of Xi’s visit, has always led relations with China. It was the first South American nation to forge diplomatic ties with China, the first Latin American country that signed a bilateral accord with China on China’s membership to theWorld Trade Organization and signed a free trade agreement with China.
In the economic and trade sector, trade volume between China and Latin America has risen more than twenty-fold during the past decade to hit $236.5 billion in 2015. Currently, China is the second largest trade partner and third largest investment source country of Latin America, while Latin America is China’s seventh largest trade partner.
As an emerging economy and the largest developing country in the world, China has always stood with developing countries and fulfilled its due responsibilities commensurate with its status as a global economic power.
China provided cash support of $2 million and humanitarian aid worth $9.2 million to Ecuador after a fatal earthquake killed 668 people, injured 4,859 and displaced around 80,000 in April.
Furthermore, China provided financial and technical support to help Latin American countries bridge the infrastructure deficit.
Thanks to China’s financial support, the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant, the largest hydroelectric plant ever constructed by a Chinese company, in northeast Ecuador, is expected to generate 1,500 megawatts of energy and meet 30 percent of Ecuador’s demand.
The plant, along with others built by Chinese companies, will help Ecuador transform from a power-hungry country into a clean energy exporter and greatly contribute to the country’s economic development.
Within the framework of the China-CELAC Forum, cooperation has also flourished in other areas like education, people-topeople exchanges and culture.
China promised Latin American and Caribbean countries 6,000 government scholarships within five years from 2014.
In addition, various cultural activities have been run in China and Latin America to boost mutual understanding and consolidate the basis for a lasting friendship. Moreover, 2016 is the “Year of Cultural Exchanges” between China and the region.
It is believed that Xi’s visit will consolidate the traditional friendship, promote common development and build a community of shared destiny between China and Latin America.