In Latin America Tour, China’s Xi Shows Maturing Approach to Region

In Latin America Tour, China’s Xi Shows Maturing Approach to Region
Chinese President Xi Jinping (Defense Department photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo).

On July 14, Xi Jinping began his second official visit to Latin America as president of China. The trip touches off with Xi’s participation in the sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, which begins today. After this meeting of emerging market leaders, Xi will attend a Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) meeting in Brasilia, followed by visits to Argentina and Venezuela, where China maintains substantial energy-related interests. Xi’s Latin America tour will conclude on July 23 after a stop in Cuba.

Xi’s trip is largely consistent with China’s previous state visits to Latin America. Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba are all top destinations for Chinese leaders. Chinese presidents visited Argentina and Venezuela on five occasions since 2006. Brazil and Cuba entertained China’s supreme leader four times over the same period.

Xi’s agenda in each country, moreover, is unlikely to deviate much from previous high-level visits. Xi is yet again expected to affirm his country’s commitment to bilateral and regional partnerships and to offer promises of additional investment and cooperation. Hydrocarbons will be a top focus in Argentina and Venezuela, in particular.

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