Beijing puts diplomatic focus on Latin America, Caribbean region
The mainland issued a white paper yesterday on its policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean region - a step that experts say reflects China's commitment to developing ties there.
'China is the biggest developing country. Latin America and the Caribbean are very important developing regions. Both of us face the same mission to develop and share a wide range of common interests,' Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said yesterday.
'As multi-polarisation and economic globalisation continue to take root, tightening Sino-Latin American relations is inevitable and in the fundamental interests of the people.'
The regional white paper is the third issued by the central government. The first one, on the European Union, was released in 2003, and the second one, on Africa, in 2006.
The paper says Sino-Latin American relations are at a historic high and there is great potential for a closer and more comprehensive partnership. It lists what China plans to do to step up exchanges and co-operation in government and political, economic, cultural, social, peace, security and judicial affairs and emphasises 'mutual respect' and 'mutual benefits'.
Sino-Latin American trade exceeded US$100 billion last year, 100 times the volume 30 years ago, when ties were first established. China is now Latin America's third-largest trading partner.
Just last week, China became the latest member of the Washington-based Inter-America Development Bank and pledged US$350 million in support of the bank's social development projects. The US and Europe are worried about China's need for raw materials and energy, and some Latin American countries have launched anti-dumping suits over the influx of cheaper mainland-made goods.
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Sino-Latin American analyst He Shuangrong said that on top of reflecting the unprecedented warming of ties with the region, the white paper was launched with the express purpose of alleviating those fears.
Former diplomat Huang Zhiliang , who spent more than 20 years in Latin America, said the growing relationship between the two sides would not threaten China's relations with other regions.
President Hu Jintao will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in Peru this month.