This is the third and final part of the interview we held with the Chinese Ambassador to Chile, which we wanted to publish over three consecutive days in order to allow our audiences a better understanding of all the information provided.
Pressenza: We understand that some of the major projects promoted by China (the new Silk Road, trade projects, exchange, technology, etc.) can favour this rapprochement between peoples. Can you comment in more detail on those that are a priority for Latin America?
Ambassador: Being at the natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Latin America and the Caribbean are important and essential participants in the construction of the Belt and Road.
In 2018, the second ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum was held in Santiago, Chile, which launched new chapters of the China-CELAC joint construction of the Belt and Road.
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to this meeting where he will be taking the China-CELAC joint construction of the Belt and Road as the axis of relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean, thus bringing these relations into a new era, characterised by equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness and well-being for the peoples.
At this meeting, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be deepening China-CELAC cooperation in five areas, namely:
Enhancing the great land and sea connection; incubating a large, mutually beneficial open market; forging a large, independent and advanced industry; grasping the great opportunity of innovation-driven development; carrying out the great exchange on the basis of equality and mutual trust.
From 2018 to now, in these 4 years, China signed cooperation documents on the joint construction of the Belt and Road with 21 Latin American countries. The China-CELAC joint construction cooperation under this initiative has achieved very fruitful results.
In the ambit of trade fruitfulness, from 2018 to 2020, for 3 consecutive years, the bilateral trade between China and Latin America exceeded US$300 billion, and in 2021, this figure reached US$450 billion.
For many consecutive years China has been Chile’s first trading partner, Chile’s largest export market and Chile’s largest source of surplus.
For China, Latin America and the Caribbean are the second largest destination for Chinese investments abroad. Chinese investment accounts for more than 10% of all foreign direct investment received by Latin American countries and continues to grow rapidly. In fact, last year Chinese investment in Chile surpassed that of the United States and we are now the largest investor in Chile.
In the ambit of infrastructure connection, some important projects include the Nestor Kirchner and Jorge Cepernic hydroelectric dam in Argentina; Belgrano also in Argentina; the Paranaguá port project in Brazil; the Bogotá Metro project in Colombia; the 5G telecommunications project in Chile and the electric bus project in Chile.
These projects have brought tangible benefits to these countries and to the people of these places.
In the ambit of mutual understanding between peoples, we are orderly pushing forward such schemes as the China-CELAC young scientists exchange scheme or the China-CELAC science and technology partners project or the China-CELAC press exchanges project.
The China-CELAC Taichi virtual competition and the 4th China-CELAC Dialogue of Civilisations Forum were also very successful. Also, the exhibition entitled “Exploration of the Andean Civilisation of Peru” was held in many museums in China. Many art groups from various Latin American countries also participated virtually in the international art festival “Meet in Beijing”.
In the ambit of anti-epidemic cooperation, Chile, Colombia and China have launched the vaccine cooperation partnership under the Belt and Road.
We have held the Foreign Ministers’ pandemic meeting with Latin American countries and in total China has offered more than 300 million doses of vaccines and about 40 million pieces of anti-epidemic supplies to the Latin American side and we have invested in countries like Chile to build a vaccine production plant.
In other words, anti-epidemic cooperation has not only brought people closer together, but has also enabled the creation of new forms of cooperation.
How do I see the prospects for China-CELAC cooperation along the Belt and Road? Last year in December we held the third ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum and the Forum adopted the Joint Action Plan for Cooperation in Key Areas, which specifies the roadmaps for China-CELAC cooperation in politics, security, economy, infrastructure, civil society, sustainable development for the next three years.
I have full confidence that the China-CELAC joint construction of the Belt and Road has broad prospects. Not only can they write new chapters for building a Community of Shared Futures that will also benefit the whole world and all humanity.
Pressenza: Our region is also living very important changes, how are these processes seen from your country?
Ambassador: I have noticed that the Latin American and Caribbean region is living important transformations. In the context of the pandemic, countries are generally paying more attention to fostering inclusive and sustainable development. They are increasing state support for the economy and improving people’s quality of life. Citizen participation in public affairs and in government decision-making is also being upward. Taking advantage of this opportunity for post-pandemic economic recovery, countries are promoting the upgrading and updating of their industries and seeking to increase their value added for export, with a view to strengthening the autonomy and independence of their development.
Latin American countries are also taking an active part in addressing global challenges such as climate change. They advocate multilateralism and international cooperation. They promote regional unity and solidarity and seek to make the voice of Latin America and the Caribbean heard in international affairs.
From my point of view, both China and Latin American countries are developing countries. We are at similar stages of development and bear similar development responsibilities. We are all striving ceaselessly for independence, autonomy, development and invigoration.
We are glad to see that Latin American countries can realise their Latin American dream based on solidarity, empowerment, independence and autonomy.
The Chinese side is willing to exchange experiences in administration and governance with the Latin American side in order to learn from each other and share development opportunities and promote joint development.
On both international and global issues, there is a great similarity in our ideas. We are all advocates of globalisation and multilateralism. We are advocates of multilateralism and the democratisation of international relations.
The Chinese side is willing to promote collaboration and coordination with the Latin American side in international frameworks, for example, the United Nations. For it to make an active contribution to improving global governance and promoting world peace and development.
Pressenza: Thank you very much Ambassador for giving us this interview, which has allowed us to understand how China projects itself into the future and what its current role is in promoting world peace and understanding between peoples.