Xi's visit to promote cooperation among BRICS, enhance ties with LatAm

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-7-13 12:08:47

Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming Latin America tour will strengthen cooperation among BRICS countries and develop the overall and bilateral relationship between China and Latin American nations.

During the trip, scheduled for July 15-23, Xi will attend the sixth BRICS summit in Brazil and pay state visits to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.

The Latin America tour is another major diplomatic endeavor following Xi's visit to South Korea earlier this month.

A more 'glittering' BRICS

The sixth BRICS leaders' meeting on July 15-16 will be the first major event during Xi's tour.

It is the start of BRICS' second round of meetings after all of its member states -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- have hosted at least one summit.

During the meeting, Xi, together with leaders of other member states, will map out the blueprint for future cooperation among BRICS countries.

After five years of development, BRICS countries now have forged a multi-level and wide-range cooperation framework led by the leaders' meeting. It has also become an important force promoting internal cooperation within the mechanism, tackling international financial crisis, driving global economic growth, and boosting international democratization.

Despite the concrete and obvious achievements of BRICS' cooperation, the five countries are still facing challenging tasks, such as how to maintain their rapid development, push forward the in-depth development of the mechanism, and play a bigger role on the international stage.

"Over the past few years, various international issues keep popping up, posing challenges to BRICS as well as each member state. It is very important to summarize the past experience and lessons, and plan the developing framework for the future," said Li Jianmin, a research fellow of Russian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

During the summit, Xi will offer China's ideas about and solutions to the future development of BRICS.

China has always supported and actively participated in the BRICS cooperation. As the largest economy in BRICS, China's influence will only become stronger as the mechanism develops.

Li said that with the development of cooperation among BRICS nations and the increase of its economic strength, BRICS should become a strategic cooperative mechanism of greater binding power.

During the summit, Xi will expound on the bright prospects of the development of BRICS, infusing confidence into its member states.

The relative slowdown of BRICS countries' economic growth, resulting from the change of international financial situation and their economic structural adjustment, has drawn negative prediction for them.

Responding to the skepticism, Fan Yongming, director of the Center for BRICS Studies at Fudan University, said these arguments are miscalculations of BRICS' development as well as the world economy.

There are ups and downs in economic growth, he said, adding that the economic cycle applies to both developed and developing countries.

"From a medium and long-term perspective, BRICS countries have enjoyed advantages in terms of demography, resources and markets compared to their developed peers," Fan said.

As long as its member nations fulfill their cooperative projects, BRICS will be as glittering as ever.

The upcoming summit is expected to accelerate the establishment of a development bank and a foreign exchange reserve pool, which are solid cooperative projects among the BRICS countries.

During his tour, Xi, together with other leaders of the BRICS countries, will also meet leaders of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the first dialogue of its kind.

BRICS' enhanced cooperation with Latin American countries demonstrates its inclusiveness and openness, and will bring more opportunities for development, experts say.

For South American countries, to work closely with the BRICS nations will provide them with more opportunities for development.

BRICS and South American nations are all emerging markets and developing countries, which have huge development potential and are rising powers in the global pattern, experts say.

The two sides' dialogue will help emerging and developing countries safeguard their common interests and increase their voices in global governance.

To promote overall China-LatAm ties 

In Brazil, Xi will meet leaders of Latin American and Caribbean nations, exchanging views on regional and international issues of common concern.

This year's summit will mark a milestone in China-Latin America relations, experts say.

The leaders from China and Latin America will announce the official establishment of the China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) forum, which is expected to hold the first ministerial meeting in Beijing this year.

The CELAC symbolizes unity, independence and development for Latin America. Therefore, the forum will serve as an important platform for promoting relations between China and Latin America.

Based on the principles of mutual-benefit and common development, both sides can, through the platform, discuss a wide range of cooperation on such topics as politics, trade and economy, science and technology, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

The upcoming summit and the China-CELAC forum are fruits of the joint efforts by both sides to promote the bilateral relations in recent years.

"Latin America has been an important factor in maintaining world peace and development. It shares a lot in common with China in terms of safeguarding national sovereignty, developing economic cooperation, and seeking a new global political and economic order," said Shen Yun'ao, former Chinese Ambassador to Brazil and Argentina.

China has uplifted the bilateral relations to a strategic level as it issued a white paper on China's ties with Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008.

Heads of state and government attending a CELAC summit in January also agreed to lay a solid foundation for the cooperative mechanism with China.

Trade between China and the region grew more than 20-fold from 12.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 261.5 billion in 2013. China is the second largest trade partner and the third largest source of investment for Latin America.

Xi paid his maiden trip to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago last year as the Chinese president, showing China's willingness to deepen and broaden its ties with Latin American countries.

His second tour to Latin America will deepen mutual trust, expand cooperation and consolidate friendship, said Xu Shicheng, a research fellow of Latin American studies at the CASS.

The opportunities for developing the China-Latin America friendly cooperation are vast, yet with much room for improvement, which requires the joint efforts from both leaders, said Xu Yicong, former Chinese ambassador to Ecuador, Cuba and Argentina.

"Xi's trip to Latin America will give a direct push to the mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation between the two sides," he said.

Latin America, with vast territories, is rich in resources, and China boasts huge market potential, funds and technology. It serves the strategic interests of both sides to seek all-dimensional, multi-level cooperation based on mutual-benefit and win-win results.

"Both China and Latin America are at the stage of structural transformation and need to learn from each other's experience in development," said Xu, of the CASS.

"Xi's Latin America tour will achieve the goal of promoting the China-Latin America relations," he added.

To uplift bilateral ties

During Xi's Latin America tour, he will firstly stop at Brazil, the largest developing country and a major emerging market in the Western Hemisphere, and meet with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to push forward their relations.

"Xi's visit will usher the China-Brazil ties into a new chapter," said Mauro de Holanda, head of the Eastern Asia Department of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, noting that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, which adds special significance to the trip.

Brazil is the first developing country to have established strategic partnership with China and the first Latin American country to have established the comprehensive strategic partnership with China.

In Argentina, Xi will talk with his Argentine counterpart, Cristina Fernandez, and uplift bilateral relations to a new high by inking a series of cooperative documents in trade, investment, agriculture, finance and infrastructure.

Argentina is an important cooperative partner of China in Latin America. Since the two nations forged ties 42 years ago, the China-Argentina relations have undergone rapid development and the two countries have become good friends of mutual trust and good partners of equality and mutual benefit.

Moreover, as this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral strategic partnership, analysts believe that the visit will help deepen China-Argentina pragmatic cooperation and enhance mutual political trust.

Venezuela, also an important cooperative partner of China in Latin America, is the third leg of Xi's Latin America tour. During the visit, he and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, will map out the future for bilateral relations.

Since China and Venezuela established diplomatic ties in 1974, especially a strategic partnership for common development in 2001, the two countries have witnessed comprehensive and rapid development in their relations.

Local analysts say Xi's visit will send a positive signal that bilateral mutual trust, economic cooperation, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges will get closer. Moreover, China's influence in the region will become stronger and the South-South Cooperation will be further consolidated.

The Latin America tour will finally take Xi to Cuba, the first Latin American country that has forged diplomatic ties with China.

During his stay in Cuba, Xi will hold talks with Cuban leader Raul Castro to set the direction for the bilateral relations, and the two sides will sign multiple documents on economy and trade, agriculture, biotechnology, culture, education and other fields.

"It will be Xi's second visit to Cuba in four years, which demonstrates the great importance that China has attached to its old friend," said former Chinese ambassador to Cuba Liu Yuqin.

Posted in: Diplomacy

blog comments powered by Disqus