China promises more co-operation in Latin America and Caribbean

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The International Waterfront, Port of Spain from the sea.
Hyatt, Tower C & Tower D, Twin Towers. Photo by Jeff K Mayers

The People’s Republic of China promised greater collaboration and cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean during a press conference at the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 7.

Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi guaranteed a “year of harvest” and a new start for cooperation between the region, Asian and African countries.

Wang said the China-CELAC forum, a regional community aimed to unite, strengthen and promote interests of Latin American and Caribbean states through collaboration with China, will see its tenth year and the Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC) is expected to take place in China later in 2024.

Both summits are expected to further collaboration among regions.

“China looks forward to jointly celebrating the milestones with various parties and continuing to promote unity and cooperation among developing countries to augment the strength of the south,” Wang said.

He also furthered endorsed BRICS states, calling the grouping a growing force for peace amid significant expansion over the last year.

“BRICS’ expansion reflects the collective rise of the global south and a world evolving faster toward multi polarity,” he said.

BRICS is a grouping of the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and was formed in 2010.

Wang said the global south now takes up over 40 per cent of the world’s economy.

Responding to questions from Bloomberg reporters on China-US relations,Wang said China sees the relationship as critical to the well-being of the two peoples with this year making 45 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He said while relations have improved, misconception toward China have led to the US not truly holding up their end of the bargain.

“The US has been devising various tactics to suppress China and kept lengthening its unilateral sanctions list, reaching bewildering levels of unfathomable absurdity. If the US says one thing and does another, where is its credibility as a major country? If it gets jittery whenever it hears the word ‘China,’ where is its confidence as a major country?

“If it only wants itself to prosper but denies other countries’ legitimate development, where is international fairness? If it persistently monopolises the high end of the value chain and keeps China at the low end, where is fairness in competition? The challenge for the US comes from itself, not from China. If the US is obsessed with suppressing China, it will eventually harm itself,” Wang said.

China’s economic priorities in Latin America and the Caribbean include securing access to raw materials and agricultural goods. It increased investment in the region from US$1 billion to US $8 billion in 2019, with US $6.1 billion in Chinese exports and US $1.9 billion in imports.