November 17 2008
President Hu will leave for state visit to Latin American countries of Costa Rica, Cuba as well as Peru and attend the 16th Informal APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting right after the G-20 Summit on Financial Market and the World Economy just concluded in Washington on Oct. 16.
Hu’s tour will definitely open a new chapter in China’s relations with Latin American countries in consideration to the changing international situations.
Though geographically wide apart, China and Latin American countries developed friendship from early time. The ties maintain a good momentum of rapid development in the new millennium. Politically, leaders from China and Latin American countries conducted frequent high-level exchanges and close communications, which boosted political mutual trust; in economy and trade, the volume broke the benchmark of 100 billion US dollars in 2007, and the growth rate in first nine months stood at 51.7 percent, making China the third largest trading partner of Latin America. Up to the present, relations with Latin America, being rapidly growing, wide and deep, have reached its historical new high.
President Hu’s three-nation tour is considered to be a crucial diplomatic measure China has taken to develop ties with Latin American countries from a strategic perspective. It is the first time for the Chinese president to visit Costa Rica since the two countries established diplomatic relations in June 2007. The Caribbean country hopes to win China’s support in joining APEC, and wishes to start negotiation on free trade agreement in the earliest possible time. Costa Rica is the first Central American country to establish diplomatic tie with China in recent years. President Hu’s visit will undoubtedly expand China’s influence in the region.
Cuba is the first country in Latin America that established relations with China, and it successfully finished its power handover in February this year. Hu’s visit will be deemed as support to Raul’s new administration.
China also witnessed rapid development of bilateral relations with Peru. Now the Central American country now has become one of the key destinations for investment from China. Two countries started free trade negotiation in September 2007, and will hopefully sign an official agreement after six rounds of talks.
Hu’s visit will convincingly push forward the bilateral and multilateral cooperation within APEC framework. Mexico. Peru and Chile are full members of APEC, and Costa Rica, Columbia, Panama and Ecuador are making efforts to join the organization. China and Latin American countries launched cooperation of mutual benefit under APEC framework, and vowed to make progress in the fields of trade and investment, energy, cooperation among SMEs, environmental protection, natural disaster relief and so on.
President Hu’s visit will enhance exchange and communication on major issues among China and Latin American countries. China and Latin America share common ground and interest appeal. On issues such as reform of international financial system, supervision on international financial market and Doha round negotiations, the emerging economies need to boost communication and take a firm stand so as to maintain the interests of developing countries.
Under the circumstance of global economic recession, whether China could maintain a stable economic growth is vital to Latin American countries. Hu’s visit will help Latin American better understand China’s economic development and importance of expanding domestic demand, which will deepen cooperation among China and Latin American countries.
China released its first policy paper on Latin America and the Caribbean ahead of President Hu’s Latin American tour, eyeing closer ties with the region. The paper illustrated the issues of policy goals, cooperation fields, as well as China’s investment and debt reduction to Latin America. Hu’s three-nation Latin America tour will thoroughly interpret the paper, and push forward the healthy, stable and comprehensive development of China-Lain America relations.