November 22nd, 2008 | Xinhua China, Latin America join hands in creating model for South-South Cooperation
Following his trip to Washington for the Group of 20 summit, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Costa Rica, Cuba and Peru in the past week to promote ties with Latin America.
As the international situation undergoes profound changes, President Hu’s trip was aimed at injecting new vitality into China-Latin America relations, which have been moving forward on a sound development track since early this year.
During this period, the respective presidents of Chile, Mexico and Venezuela paid visits to China, which also hosted a business summit for entrepreneurs from the two sides.
More remarkably, the Chinese government issued an unprecedented document clarifying China’s policy goals on Latin America and put forward guiding principles for China-Latin America cooperation, thus establishing a stronger basis for the continued, healthy and stable development of mutual ties.
To better unite and cooperate with developing countries has been a fundamental standpoint of Chinese diplomacy. As China is the largest developing country and Latin America one of the major developing regions, the two sides are in similar developmental stages and share broad common interests.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has stated that in the current world where multi-polarization and economic globalization continue to deepen, a closer China-Latin America relationship is objectively inevitable and in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples.
For a better common future, the joint efforts made by the two sides would create a model of South-South Cooperation, with mutual political trust as the foundation, economic and trade cooperation as the impetus, and mutual benefits and win-win as the consensus.
FOUNDATION: MUTUAL POLITICAL TRUST
With the reaching of a common strategic understanding on developing bilateral relations, a significant expression of further enhancement of political trust between China and Latin America in recent years has been the frequent exchange of high-level visits.
Since March 2008, four heads of state from Latin America have visited China, and Hu’s just-concluded three-nation tour in the region was his third to Latin America in four years.
Frequent high-level visits have boosted pragmatic bilateral cooperation in various fields, reinforced mutual coordination on international affairs, and effectively pushed forward the complete development of China-Latin America ties.
Under the framework of becoming “reliable all-weather friends,” China has successively established strategic partnerships or all-around cooperative partnerships with many Latin American nations. Starting with Brazil in the mid-1990s, China has successively built such relationships with Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. The latest one was with Peru, which established a “strategic partnership” with China during Hu’s visit.
Meanwhile, China has closely participated in Latin America’s regional organizations and mechanism. After acting an observer of the Inter-American Development Bank in 1991 and that of the Latin American Integration Association in 1993, China became an observer for the Latin American Integration Association, the Organization of American States and the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2004.
Besides, China has set up dialogue mechanisms with several influential regional groups and consultation mechanisms at the foreign ministerial level with major countries, giving shape to a multi-channel, organic mechanism for communication and dialogue.
China has also sent peacekeeping police to Haiti on U.N. missions and contributed to peace and stability in the Latin American region.
IMPETUS: ECONOMIC AND TRADE COOPERATION
The enhanced mutual political trust has boosted bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Trade between China and Latin American countries has seen double-digit growth since the 1990s, and China has grown into the continent’s second or third biggest trade partner over the past ten years.
According to newly released statistics, trade between China and Latin America hit 111.461 billion U.S. dollars in the first three quarters of 2008, up 52 percent from the same period of the previous year. China’s direct non-financial investment in the region involving trade, manufacturing, gas and oil exploration amounted to 960 million dollars at the end of June this year.
China and Latin America have become more interdependent with the expansion of bilateral trade. China is now a major trading partner of Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru. It has also inked a series of economic and technological cooperation accords with 16 Latin American countries, offering guarantees that bilateral economic ties will develop in a healthy and sound way.
High-tech industry has become another focus of cooperation between China and Latin America in recent years. For instance, China and Brazil have carried out fruitful cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear energy and space exploration.
COMMON UNDERSTANDING: MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL AND WIN-WIN PARTNERSHIP
The economies of China and Latin American nations are complementary. Both sides share a growing will to enhance relations. People from the two regions, including leaders and entrepreneurs, have reached a common understanding of developing bilateral ties from a strategic height, which is in keeping with the interests of both sides, giving them an advantageous position in international competition in the 21st century.
The current financial crisis has dealt a heavy blow to the global economy, affecting exports worldwide. Most Latin American nations, such as Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and Costa Rica, have expressed willingness to strengthen ties with China. In their view, enhancing cooperation with China will boost the economies of either side.
Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997), the architect of China’s reform and opening up process, said that Chinese policies with respect with Latin America involved the establishment and development of good relations with the region, setting cooperation between the two sides as the model of South-South Cooperation.
As he predicted, China and major Latin American countries such as Mexico and Brazil have developed rapidly, creating more potential for bilateral cooperation in the 21st century. Under the new circumstances, both sides would attach importance to their relations at a strategic level, which would serve as a fresh impetus for the development of Chinese-Latin American ties.