Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chinese President’s visit to Latin America underlined China’s growing economic and political diplomacy in the region

By China Watcher

Latin America, the backyard of the US, had been a monopolized stronghold in political and economic influence of the US for the past 80 years but lately these countries have slowly come out of its “past economic bondage” and accepted that the US is not the only nation that could guarantee its economic prosperity in the future.

China, a growing economic power, had started to make dramatic inroads outside its normal spheres of influence in nearby Asia and stepped up the economic and political linkages, most prevalent in Latin America and Africa based countries.

This is also part of its global strategy to diversify its over-reliance on “Caucasian” ruled Western countries like the US and EU in the medium and long term so as to reduce the effects from unfair trade tariffs and the expected “boycott threats” from mainly Western governments arising from pressure of these various human rights groups and other Western based non government organizations openly unfriendly to China and its people. I strongly supported this move as it was suggested in my earlier articles.

In DEMOCRATIC Costa Rica (once again, the Western media proudly highlighted), China had started bilateral free trade talks and signed a number of business deals including a joint venture in which the Chinese will help modernize the country’s only state-owned oil refinery. And in COMMUNIST Cuba (there it goes, highlighting the anti-communist fervor of the Western media) the Chinese leader brought millions of dollars in aid and promises of closer future trade ties.

Though communism had been accepted as another political model in so-called “freedom of speech” countries like the US but the journalists and editors from the West are still a bunch of anti-communist people.

Personally, I have come to accept that China is not a Communist state but a “one-party” socialist country. If a country is truly communist, the economy should subscribe totally to a centrally planned model. But China’s economic system is deemed capitalist with a high degree of government interference as presently being practiced in the emerging economies of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

The Costa Rica trip’s also demonstrated to the many Taiwan’s allies in the region especially Paraguay and Nicaragua that cementing relationship with China is long term and, economically beneficial as compared to “the friendship with aid packages” deal handled out by the former. With the passing of time, China will grow stronger and it is only practical to have a meaningful relationship with a potential superpower.

Even the present Taiwan’s leadership under the Kuomintang is aware of the trade and economic dynamics but unfortunately, the opposition party which had led the provincial island astray for the past 8 years, still wanted to play politics recently by protesting close ties with mainland China.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia, the host for this weekend's summit of leaders from the 21 countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, has warmly welcomed the Chinese President and the two countries are expected to finalize a bilateral free trade agreement.

Trade between China and the region remains relatively small but is growing rapidly. According to Xinhua news agency, exports to Latin America grew 52 percent in the first nine months of 2008 to US$111.5 billion dollars.

This is really impressive considering the insignificant volume just a few years ago.

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