BEIJING – Ahead of a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Argentine counterpart Mauricio Macri, who had promised to review bilateral accords during his election campaign, China said on Tuesday its agreements with Argentina are transparent, open and legal.
Several members of the Argentine government confirmed Macri’s electoral pledge to review all the accords the previous Cristina Fernandez-led government had signed with China and Russia.
In statements to Argentine newspaper Clarin, the country’s Energy and Mining minister Juan Jose Aranguren assured he will meet Chinese authorities to renegotiate the financing of many of these projects, which he considers to have been “imposed” by the Chinese side.
However, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei insisted at a press conference on Tuesday that the China-Argentina agreements are mutually beneficial, open, transparent and in line with laws and norms.
Macri and Xi are set to hold their first bilateral meeting on April 1 on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
Despite the regime-change in Argentina, Hong said Beijing is ready to continue collaborating with Buenos Aires in executing large cooperation projects, besides broadening communications between the two countries.
In 2015, when Fernandez was in power in the South American country, the two countries agreed to construct two nuclear plants in Argentina, involving a total investment of $15 billion, 85 percent of which was to be financed by China.
The same year, the construction of a Chinese space monitoring station in southern Argentina sparked controversy after a TV program warned the project could have military ends, which was denied by the-then Argentine government, which claimed the station only had scientific and civil objectives, and that there were no hidden or secret clauses in the accord.