It’s absurd for US to defame China-LatAm cooperation
Published: Apr 20, 2022 08:59 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken kicked off a two-day visit to Panama on Tuesday. During an earlier news briefing about the trip, a senior White House official didn't forget to take the chance to vilify China and attempt to drive a wedge between China and Panama.

Unhappy with the blossoming trade between Latin America countries and China, the US Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols said: "We're not saying don't trade with China. What we're saying is do so with your eyes open, understand what's on the table, understand how China will use and its companies will use your data if they are in the data processing business like 5G." 

Without novelty, the ideologically biased US politicians are taking all occasions to badmouth and slander China. In this case, it is wicked and highly immoral to force Latin American countries to take sides, to serve Washington' anti-China posturing, while neglecting many developing countries' desire in Latin America to grow their economies and improve their people's livelihood. 

Due to the coronavirus and an increasingly volatile global geopolitics, many developing countries are now facing rising difficulty of economic contraction. Among the risks, fiscal crisis has emerged as one urgent challenge that developing countries have to address, including many Latin America economies. 

According to media reports, Brazil's national debt is expected to reach 79.6 percent of GDP this year. And, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just approved a debt refinancing plan for Argentina, providing $44 billion worth Special Drawing Rights (SDR) over the next 30 months to aid the country's debt sustainability.

To make things worse, the US Federal Reserve, by tightening its monetary policy to combat runaway inflation, is actually smothering many developing economies' already weakened recovery. Forced to tackle surging consumer prices and growing debt pressure caused by the Fed's monetary tightening, many Latin America nations have started to raise interest rates, which will further dampen their growth. 

Instead of helping resolving the real challenges facing by many Latin American countries, the US government has, selfishly and recklessly, moved to put more pressure on Latin American countries to stand against China by scrapping economic cooperation with Chinese companies. 

Obviously, Washington envies the growing and fruitful economic cooperation between China and Latin America countries. Feeling anxious about China's rapid growth, the US government has made up many lies to slander China, such as the baseless 5G-data theft that Brian Nichols alleged at the new briefing. But he just cannot provide any evidence to support his accusation. 

As a matter of fact, what many Latin America countries have cooperated with China has brought huge mutually-beneficial benefits for them, greatly improving the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people.

In 2021, trade volume between China and Latin America economies exceeded $450 billion, hitting a new record despite the pandemic. For instance, Chile has become a major fruit exporter to China, with its cherries, prunes and peaches becoming increasingly popular among Chinese consumers. 

As for Panama, its Colon Free Zone reported a 41-percent surge in commerce during the first two months this year, with Chinese construction equipment, goods and services contributing greatly to the zone's development.

Amid the current depressed global economic environment, it is needless to say how important and significant such dynamic economic partnership between China and Latin America bears for many local economies. It is weird and ill-willed for the US to defame the cooperation by asking Latin America countries to keep China out. 

The author is an editor with the Global Times.