President Xi strengthens ties on 3-nation tour

Reporter: Paulo Cabral
Posted on: 24.11.2016,

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Latin America tour has wrapped up in Chile. The visit is the latest show of strengthened relations between China and the region.

Three countries in six days – including a meeting of APEC leaders. Chinese President Xi Jinping had a busy schedule during his tour of Ecuador, Peru and Chile – but apparently a very productive one.

This is the third time President Xi has visited Latin America since 2013, bringing the total of countries visited to 10. It’s a display of Chinas’ continued interest in developing connections to the region.

Over the last 10 years, China has displaced the United States as the main trade partner in several Latin American countries, like here in Chile and also in Peru. In other nations, China has become a key foreign investor, as in the case of Ecuador.

The Chinese-funded Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric is a prime example of several infrastructure projects built in Ecuador with the backing of China. It’s the biggest in the country, and it generates a third of Ecuador’s energy needs.

“China is the main source of financing worldwide, and its relation with Ecuador serves as reference to other countries in the region. Chinese funding has helped us to change the shape of the energy generation and of the productive structure in our country,” said Rafael Correa, Ecuadorian President.

In Peru, the highlight of Xi’s visit was the APEC leaders meeting. It was an important gathering particularly because President-elect Donald Trump has talked about reducing the role of the U.S. in international forums – a view opposed by China.

Xi said, “We ought need to commit ourselves to build a community with a shared future. And that should oblige us to come closer together than move apart. We ought to continue deepening and expanding the cooperation in our region.”

Chile was the last stop by the Chinese President. The two countries have a long standing free trade agreement, which has already tripled exports and imports between the two sides of the Pacific in the past decade.

The Chilean president said her country has been taking steps to attract more Chinese investment.

“In May this year, the China Construction Bank was authorized to operate in Chile which will open the way for them to invest in infrastructure in our country and will also facilitate financial exchanges between us,” said Michelle Bachelet, Chilean President.

Chinese ties with Latin America have been growing steadily. And this latest visit of the Chinese president to the region shows there is still much more expected.


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