SANTIAGO – Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his official visit on Tuesday, established an alliance with Chile, whose access to Latin America represents a great strategic value for China.
Xi made a brief official visit to Chile with a full agenda, including a meeting with President Michelle Bachelet, the signing of 12 cooperation agreements and the opening of the China-Latin America Media Leaders Summit.
The visit takes place as China intensifies its political, economic and trade relations with Latin America amid a troubling time for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which on the very same Tuesday, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump vowed to abandon.
Xi, who earlier visited Peru and Ecuador, has just attended in the 24th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, where he defended trade liberalization and economic integration among the countries in the Asia Pacific region.
China is pushing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which some analysts see it as a competition to the TPP.
On his arrival on Tuesday in Chile, a country he had visited twice as vice president, the Chinese leader was welcomed by Bachelet in La Moneda Palace, the headquarters of the Chilean government, where a meeting and the signing of a dozen agreements between delegations of both countries took place.
Among these agreements is the memorandum of understanding to begin negotiations that will deepen the free trade agreement (FTA) signed between the two countries ten years ago.
President Bachelet, who was invited by Xi to visit China next year, announced that Chile will host the second Ministerial Meeting of the China-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Forum in January 2018.
For his part, President Xi highlighted the “fruitful meeting” with his Chilean counterpart, in which they exchanged in-depth views on relations between the two countries and reached consensus in order to boost development.
“We have decided to elevate the bilateral ties and open a new chapter in China-Chile relations. We agreed to further deepen our bilateral economic cooperation and political coordination,” Xi said.