Chinese FM's trips to Africa, LatAm highlight Beijing's ties with Global South
Closer cooperation with developing nations to achieve more balanced global landscape, fend off rising uncertainty
Published: Jan 21, 2024 08:20 PM Updated: Jan 21, 2024 11:14 PM
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrives at the Itamaraty Palace to attend a meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira in Brasilia, Brazil on January 19, 2024. Photo: AFP

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrives at the Itamaraty Palace to attend a meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira in Brasilia, Brazil on January 19, 2024. Photo: AFP

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's recent visits to Africa and Latin America, his first overseas trips in 2024, underscore China's growing emphasis on Global South countries. Chinese experts argue that closer coordination with these nations will help create a more balanced and sustainable global landscape, which is crucial in the face of increasing uncertainties and turmoil ahead.  

The strong bond between China and many developing countries is not only based on extensive economic cooperation but also on unwavering support for each other's core interests, as exemplified by the Taiwan question. Experts believe that this shared consensus forms the foundation and prerequisite for China's relations with these Global South countries.

China hopes to work with Jamaica to synergize development strategies, expand cooperation in various fields, enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and consolidate the public opinion foundation for China-Jamaica friendship, Wang, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said Saturday during a meeting with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Holness said that China did not hesitate to lend a helping hand when Jamaica encountered difficulties, which has strongly supported Jamaica's economic development and the improvement of people's lives, and vividly demonstrates China's sincere will to help developing countries.    

China's top diplomat's trip to the Caribbean country came after his visit to Brazil, where he met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday. The two spoke highly of the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership.

Wang and Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira co-chaired the fourth China-Brazil Foreign Ministerial-Level Comprehensive Strategic Dialogue on Friday, vowing to strengthen the synergy of development strategies and expand cooperation in emerging fields. They signed an agreement on mutual visa facilitation to further expand personnel exchanges between the two countries.

Jamaica marks the last stop of Wang's New Year trip of 2024. Before visiting Latin America, the Chinese Foreign Minister also visited Egypt, Tunisia, Togo and Cote d'Ivoire.

Strengthening cooperation with developing countries has always been a priority for China's diplomacy, and China seeks to better coordinate the cooperation with those countries to achieve a sustainable, healthy and balanced global diplomatic landscape, Jiang Shixue, a professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at Shanghai University, told the Global Times. 

Adhere to one-China principle

Both Holness and Lula voiced support and adherence to the one-China principle. After he concluded his trip to four African countries, Wang told media on Friday that leaders from those four countries all reiterated their adherence to the one-China principle. 

When it comes to issues involving China's core interests, African countries have shown the most resolute attitude and clear stance, fully reflecting the fine tradition of mutual support between China and Africa, Wang said.

Noting that Brazil and China highly agree on many major issues, the Brazilian president said that he looks forward to working with China to improve global governance and enhance the overall strength and the voice of developing countries in international affairs.

Strong consensus in each other's core interests, as well as on most international affairs, is the solid foundation and prerequisite for China's ties with developing countries. Take the Taiwan question as an example, most developing countries keep a clear mind and stand firm with the one-China principle, while a few countries, willing to serve as US vassals, always seek to stir up confrontation with China on this question, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Li said it is crucial for the Global South to assert its stance on the Taiwan question, making it clear to some Western nations that endorsing the one-China principle is the prevailing consensus and that any interference or provocation in the Taiwan Straits by these Western countries is unwelcome. The Western countries' provocations on the Taiwan question are only amusing themselves on the international stage, he said.  

After Taiwan's regional election earlier this month, countries such as Canada, Japan, France and UK and the EU sent "congratulations" to the island. Later, the Chinese embassies in Canada, Japan, France and the UK as well as Mission of China to the EU expressed their strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to those countries and regions. 

Stabilizing forces

Wang highlighted the increased uncertainty and instability the world is facing when he met with Celso Amorim, advisor to the Brazilian President. As independent emerging powers, China and Brazil should first manage their own affairs well, while strengthening unity, cooperation, and anchoring common goals to demonstrate their responsibilities as major countries and become crucial stabilizing forces in a multi-polar system, he said. 

Observers said that as the world economy is still suffering from a sluggish recovery, it is high time for developing countries to huddle together. The closer they huddle, the stronger they will be in resisting the rising uncertainty. 

Li pointed out that the biggest uncertainty lies in the US. A comeback of former president Donald Trump is predicted by many policy pundits to cause unease for the global economy.

Despite winning only one 2024 Republican nomination contest, global media outlets are abuzz with speculation about the potential implications of a Trump 2.0 presidency on the world economy. A CNBC article last week said that Trump's potential return to the White House dominated the conversation at this year's edition of the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

"Every question I've gotten as I've walked up and down the [Davos] Promenade today is, 'is he coming back?'" Tim Adams, president of the Institute of International Finance, told CNBC.

Moreover, many developing countries are attracted to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China's Global Security Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, along with other proposals, Li said. He noted that those plans connect Global South countries more closely, and better serve their own development plans. 

Wang discussed the BRI with both the Jamaican leader and the Brazilian Foreign Minister. Wang and Vieira vowed to explore the strategic synergy between the Belt and Road cooperation and Brazil's reindustrialization and New Growth Acceleration Program and deepen cooperation in traditional areas, as well as expand cooperation in emerging fields.