China in LatAm: a win-win-win

Updated: 2015-03-30 03:45

By HUA SHENGDUN in Washington(China Daily Latin America)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

China's investment in Latin America will produce win-win-win results for both China and the Americas, said a China expert with a Washington-based think tank.

"It can be a win-win-win situation if China and the US could boost cooperation and minimize conflict in the Latin America region," said Wu Hongying, research professor and director of the Institute of Latin American Studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations at the Wilson Center on March 24.

"We are glad to see more dialogue on the trilateral relations and also the improvement of US-Latin America relations," Wu said. "It's important to increase mutual trust."

Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center, said China's investment in Latin America should not be seen as a zero-sum game by the US.

"We should be positive about it because China's investment in Latin America would also create new opportunities for the US in the region," he said. "It could be a bridge for more cooperation."

Daly said the world, including Latin America and the US, should adjust to China's growing power while China is learning to become a major power.

"It must not be viewed as a challenge to Washington, but as a positive contribution to peace and stability in the Americas," said Wu Baiyi, research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"This may be why some foreign commentators have cautioned Washington against both seeing China's outreach to Latin America as barging into its own backyard, and taking significant action to counter the Chinese move," he said.

Wu said it is a "safe bet" that China's cooperation with Latin America as a whole will drive regional integration and prosperity.

During a visit by leaders from a bloc of 33 countries in Latin American and the Caribbean — or CELAC — to Beijing in January, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $250 billion in investment in the region over the next 10 years.

During the China-CELAC forum, the first time China hosted the body, Xi said the two-way trade between China and Latin America was estimated to rise to $500 billion within the next 10 years in the areas of energy, infrastructure construction, agriculture, manufacturing and technological innovation.

"I believe that this meeting will achieve fruitful results, give the world a positive signal about deepening cooperation between China and Latin America and have an important and far-reaching impact on promoting South-South cooperation and prosperity for the world," Xi said.

Richard Weitz, senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute, said "it is important to keep China's presence in Latin America in perspective".

"Though growing quickly, it still lags behind other regions in terms of economic importance for China. Although China is the lead trading partner for several key Latin American countries, it is far from the only international actor in the region," Weitz said.

"The United States, European countries, Russia, and even India are all important economic players in South America. And Brazil and other local countries are now exerting considerable influence within their own region," he added.

Niu Haibin, research fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said that to build a more positive and constructive interaction among China, Latin America and the US, the key is to "hold a mutually beneficial and win-win attitude to the trilateral relationship".

"First, to respect the growing independence of Latin America per se is important for both the US and China in furthering their engagement with the region," Niu said. "Second, both the US and China should build a development partnership to address Latin America's sustainable development concerns."

Sheng Yang in Washington contributed to this story.