Chinese President Xi Jinping is heading to Latin America next week — Ecuador, Peru, and Chile — while Chinese diplomats have scheduled a December meeting with Venezuelan counterparts.
The diplomatic efforts appear to be an attempt to establish a firm Chinese presence in Latin America in anticipation of the conclusion of President Barack Obama’s term in office. Obama’s successor, President-Elect Donald Trump, won his campaign on an anti-globalist economic platform, vowing to return jobs to the United States from abroad and make the nation more competitive with China internationally.
Xi will travel to Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held on November 19 in Lima, the Chinese state news outlet Xinhua reports. He will also visit Ecuador and Chile at the behest of those nations’ heads of state.
In Peru, Xi is expected to help “promote a free trade agreement and further implement a framework proposed by Xi during his visit to the continent in 2014.” Such agreements would facilitate increasing China’s presence in the region in manufacturing and development generally. The Global Times, another state publication, notes that Xi laid the groundwork for these trade agreements two years ago when he traveled to “Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.”
At the time, all four nations boasted radical leftist governments. While Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolás Maduro continues to wield power there illegally today, and a Castro regime emboldened by President Obama’s “normalization” policy appeared solidly in power, the larger two nations did away with their socialist governments.
In Argentina, current President Mauricio Macri surprised pollsters with a narrow win in that nation’s presidential election, forcing the first run-off vote in Argentina’s history and winning the second vote handily. In Brazil, the nation’s legislature forced the impeachment and ouster of socialist president Dilma Rousseff after millions took the streets demanding criminal repercussions for those involved in the sprawling corruption case known as “Operation Car Wash.”
Following the APEC meeting, Chinese officials have scheduled a high-level meeting in Caracas of the Mixed China-Venezuela High-Level Commission, according to Venezuelan state media. President Nicolás Maduro announced the meeting during his new radio program, Salsa Time, with Vice President of Planning Ricardo Menéndez explaining that furthering ties with China was necessary for “strengthening our joint work, our strategic association.”
China has vowed to invest more heavily in Venezuelan infrastructure, which has almost entirely collapsed as a product of the nation’s socialist mismanagement of the economy.