China to welcome FMs from Argentina, Bolivia and Peru
Published: Apr 27, 2024 08:04 PM Updated: Apr 27, 2024 09:20 PM
Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

Argentina's Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship, Diana Mondino, is set to visit China from Saturday to May 1 amid expectations of advancing currency swap line negotiations and fostering cooperation in various sectors, including new energy. Analysts noted that although China-Argentina bilateral relations entered "a running-in" period of adjustment after Javier Milei assumed the Argentine presidency late last year, Argentina's perception of China has become more pragmatic, recognizing the crucial importance of the relationship with China for its economic recovery.

In addition, at the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia Celinda Sosa Lunda and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru Javier González-Olaechea Franco will also visit China from April 28 to 30. 

Observers said that in light of this year marking the 10th anniversary of the Forum of China and  Community  of   Latin  American  and   Caribbean States (China-CELAC Forum), China and countries in South America are expected to increase interactions, fostering deeper cooperation and providing momentum for regional and global development.

During the visits of the foreign ministers from Argentina, Bolivia and Peru in China, Wang Yi will hold talks with them respectively on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a press conference on Friday. 

While introducing Foreign Minister Mondino's visit to China, Wang Wenbin noted that this is her first visit to China since she took office. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the China-Argentina comprehensive strategic partnership. China hopes that through this visit, the two countries will further enhance political mutual trust, offer broader prospects for our mutually beneficial cooperation, enrich the China-Argentina comprehensive strategic partnership, and achieve common development and prosperity, the spokesperson said. 

The currency swap deal will top the agenda of Mondino's delegation in China, as solving debt issues is a pressing issue for the Argentinian government, Wang Youming, director of the Institute of Developing Countries at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday. 

Argentina's Central Bank President Santiago Bausili and Finance Secretary Pablo Quirno will reportedly travel to China along with Foreign Minister Mondino. During the visit, they are expected to discuss the $18 billion currency swap agreement with Chinese monetary authorities. 

Wang Youming noted that Mondino is also being joined by a large delegation of Argentine businesspeople, and the two sides will discuss economic cooperation, including exports of agricultural and livestock products and Chinese investments and engineering projects in Argentina. Lithium resource cooperation is also a key project in new energy cooperation between China and Argentina, said Wang Youming. 

This round of interactions will help promote exchanges between China and Argentina, Wang Youming noted, adding that after Milei took office in Argentina, China-Argentina relations entered a period of adjustment. However, Argentina's perception of China has become more pragmatic, and it now recognizes the crucial importance of the relationship with China for economic recovery.

Some Western media also reported President Milei as taking "a softer tone" toward Beijing than he did as a candidate. 

However, the Milei government's bid to align Argentina with the US may also bring some uncertainties to bilateral relations, analysts said, noting that Milei has withdrawn the country from its planned entry into the expanding BRICS and formally requested to join NATO as a global partner. 

As Argentina's second-largest trading partner, the importance of China is self-evident, and the structural and long-term trade and investment between the two countries suggests that the partnership between them has a certain degree of flexibility, said analysts.

China is willing to engage in mutually beneficial economic cooperation with any partner country, they said, urging Argentina to engage in constructive discussions with China.

The visits of the foreign ministers from Argentina, Bolivia and Peru in the coming week coincide with a bustling period in China's diplomacy and also part of the series of exchanges between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries, Wang Youming said, noting that such interactions will peak in the second half of the year during the China-CELAC summit.

These countries, along with other nations in the Global South, hold a positive outlook on China's market, investment, and development. Collaboration between China and these countries has the potential to propel regional economic development and act as a catalyst for global economic growth, said the expert.