Salvadoran president’s visit to enhance ties

By Xie Wenting Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/29 21:03:40

US cannot offer the help the S.American nation needs: experts

Salvador's new president, Nayib Bukele (left), waves along with his wife Gabriela Rodriguez, during his inauguration ceremony at a square in downtown San Salvador on June 1. Bukele, 37, who was elected in February to succeed Salvador Sanchez Ceren, has said he will seek closer ties with the US, home to 2.5 million Salvadorans. Photo: VCG

China and El Salvador are expected to further enhance bilateral ties by expanding cooperation in economics, tourism and people-to-people exchanges during the Salvadoran president's visit from December 1-6. 

The high-profile visit shows that the Central American nation realizes cooperation with China is win-win while the US, which treats the region like its backyard, cannot offer the help the nation needs, experts said. 

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Nayib Bukele will visit China, China's Foreign Ministry announced on Friday. This is his first visit to China after assuming office in June and the second visit by the country's president after it cut "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan and established formal diplomatic ties with the mainland in 2018.

During Bukele's visit, President Xi will hold a welcome ceremony and a banquet, and the two heads of state are expected to attend the signing of bilateral cooperation documents, Geng Shuang, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, told Friday's regular media briefing.  

Premier Li Keqiang and Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, will also meet with Bukele. He will visit Shanghai and Beijing, Geng said. 

"The six-day visit shows Bukele pins high hopes on China. The space for cooperation between the two countries is far greater than it had with the island of Taiwan," Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.

"Bukele's visit is a clear sign to the international community that only  countries that recognize the one-China principle can have broader opportunities of development," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times on Friday.

Li Haidong added that the high-profile reception for Bukele shows China treats every country, regardless of size, equally and with mutual respect.  

Liu said the priorities for Bukele during this visit include attracting Chinese investment and tourists to El Salvador, learning China's development experiences and obtaining China's aid. 

Bukele tweeted on Thursday that he will tour Asia for "investment and cooperation for our country." He arrived in Japan on Thursday before heading to China.

His tweet attracted 100,000 likes and 14,000 comments. "Greetings to the Chinese people. As a Salvadoran, we're looking forward to your healthy investment and cooperation that could help us improve our education, health, transportation and technology," read one comment. 

"May God bless this tour and may we bring benefits to our country," Bukele said on his Twitter.  

"His expectations for China are larger than other countries, including Japan, because China is always generous in lending help when cooperating with other developing countries," Liu said. 

Liu said China's experiences in poverty alleviation, infrastructure, city management and employment can offer a useful reference for El Salvador. He said that in the future cooperation, China can open factories there, recruit local people and train workers. In terms of people-to-people exchanges, the Chinese government may offer more scholarships to help local students study in China.  

Other areas of future cooperation could include joint anti-pirate operations and combating drug smuggling, he added. 

While El Salvador is eyeing greater cooperation with China, its move unnerved the US which views China as a threat in the region. Some US media even claimed that China is using money to win favor from El Salvador. 

"These twisted media reports underestimated the judgment of the country's politicians," Li Haidong said. He stressed that despite pressure from the US, as a sovereign country, El Salvador has its own judgment, which is to benefit its people. 

"The US only exerts pressure, and it's never willing to sacrifice even a tip of its own benefits to help other countries. It only makes demands of other countries. Under this situation, no country will be willing to befriend the US," Li said. 

Liu told the Global Times that a rational country leader makes decisions based on the country's development goals. "He needs to be pragmatic. The US may only offer some aid, but with strings attached. On the other hand, China's help is more selfless and aims at win-win." 


blog comments powered by Disqus