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Post BRICS Summit, Xi set to charm SouthAmerica
July 7, 2014, 5:22 am

From left: Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia, Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, Jose Mujica of Uruguay, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela [AP]

From left: Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia, Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, Jose Mujica of Uruguay, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela [AP]

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the 6th BRICS summit in the Brazilian cities of Fortaleza and Brasilia and visit three other Latin American countries later this month as Beijing steps up a drive to become the leading trade and diplomatic partner of the region.

The Chinese President will begin an official state visit to Brazil from 17th July, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said on Monday in Beijing.

Apart from Brazil and Argentina, Xi will also be visiting the “traditionally friendly nations” like Venezuela and Cuba from July 18 to 23. Xi is expected to announce a further push in Chinese investment in infrastructure projects in Latin America and enhanced oil cooperation.

The 6th BRICS Summit this year will see the participation of leaders of Latin American and Caribbean nations.

In their push for a multi-polar world, BRICS and South American nations are allied. Both also advocate a greater role for the UN and developing countries in world affairs against unilateral intervention and military force. The declaration at the end of the 6th BRICS Summit on 16th July would argue for these common interests.

China has become a key partner for Latin America and the Caribbean as trade between China and the region in 2012 grew over 22 times what it was in 2001, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean said in a report.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had in April this year laid the groundwork for Xi’s visit.

Wang has said China was seeking to invest in infrastructure projects — chiefly roads, railways and power stations. He stressed China’s interest to set up a fund to increase investment in infrastructure-lacked Latin America.

“There is great potential for further oil cooperation with Latin America. We’d like to set up long-term partnerships, especially with Venezuela and Brazil,” Wang said.

President Nicolas Maduro has said Venezuela hopes to export as much as a million barrels a day to China, which would make China Venezuela’s top oil buyer.

Venezuelan official data showed in the first four months of 2013, the country exported 626,000 barrels of oil a day to China.

Meanwhile, Argentine newspaper Clarin had said the Argentine government is expecting China to invest $4.7 billion in a hydroelectric project and $2.4 billion in a railway project.

China is also interested in another hydroelectric project in Neuquen in central Argentina, and is bidding for it, the report said.

Last year, the Chinese President had inked 24 agreements during his visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico after talks with leaders of eight Caribbean nations.

By the end of 2013, $80 billion had flown from China to Latin America, 13 per cent of China’s total global investment, says official Chinese figures.


TBP and Agencies

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