China sees Argentina as a partner

Updated: 2014-07-20 09:09

By ZHANG YUWEI in New York and WU JIAO in Buenos Aires (China Daily Latin America)

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Legislative bodies of China and Argentina could enhance exchanges and mutual learning so as to promote bilateral ties, said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday during his visit to Argentina, the second leg of his South America trip.

The Chinese leader made the remarks while meeting with Amado Boudou, Argentina's vice-president and head of the Senate, or the upper house of the Argentine National Congress, and Julian Dominguez, president of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house.

Xi said the Argentine National Congress embodied the country's public opinion, and its support to developing China-Argentina ties had cemented China's determination for friendly cooperation.

The Chinese leader spoke highly of the exchanges between China's National People's Congress (NPC) and the Argentine National Congress, which helped enrich the content of bilateral ties.

Xi said he had productive talks with his Argentine counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Friday, when they agreed to build the two countries' relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

"China-Argentina relations now stand at a new starting point in history," said Xi.

The two sides should see each other as development opportunities and partners, boosting mutually beneficial cooperation in an effort to promote common development, Xi noted.

For their part, the two leaders of the Argentine National Congress lauded Xi's visit as a strong boost to mutual trust and cooperation and for its profound impact on promoting bilateral relations.

Argentina-China cooperation is conducive to achieving common development, intensifying the unity and cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries, and promoting the establishment of a more just and rational international order, said the two leaders.

Boudou and Dominguez also pledged the support of the congress and all political parties in their country to the development of the Argentina-China ties.

Also on Saturday, President Xi met with Mauricio Macri, mayor of Buenos Aires, and was given a key to the city to honor the friendship between the two nations.

Xi said Buenos Aires has had exchanges with Beijing and Guangzhou for a long time and has been taking the lead to promote Argentina-China and South America-China relations. The two nations should continue to enhance exchanges in science, education, culture and sports so as to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship.

Macri said Xi's visit has boosted their bilateral relations to a new level. The agreements signed between China and Argentina during Xi's visit have created more important opportunities for both nations.

China has invested some $23 billion in Argentine hydrocarbons, mining, finance and agricultural exports and is the country's third-largest trading partner behind the South American Mercosur bloc and the European Union, and one of its main destinations for food exports.

Jon Taylor, professor of political science from University of St Thomas in Houston, said Xi's visit to Argentina underscores China's cultivation of relations with its "strategic partners" in South America.

"The visit to Argentina typifies his trip — economic rather than ideological," said Taylor.

On Friday when Xi met his Argentine counterpart Kirchner, the two witnessed signings of a series of agreements ranging from infrastructure to finance.

"The announcement of Chinese investments in hydroelectric power, shipbuilding, railways, and a deal to help Argentina build its fourth nuclear plant only cements a burgeoning economic partnership," said Taylor.  

China has invested some $23 billion in Argentine hydrocarbons, mining, finance, and agricultural exports.  China is Argentina's third-largest trading partner and is one of Argentina's main destinations for food exports.

Argentina is the second leg of Xi's four-nation Latin America tour, which has already taken him to Brazil, where he attended the sixth BRICS summit, and will later take him to Venezuela and Cuba.

"President Xi's Latin America visit has tremendous geopolitical significance, which goes beyond massive trade deals between China and major Latin American economies and China's generous investments there," said Zhiqun Zhu, director of the China Institute at Bucknell University. "With growing economic clout, China is becoming a major political and strategic force in the region."

Xinhua contributed to this story