Beijing is turbo-charging its infrastructure connectivity across the region and the Caribbean
A sharp, geoeconomic shift took place last month in Santiago, Chile at the second ministerial meeting of a forum grouping China and the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told his audience that the world’s second-largest economy and Latin America should join efforts to support free trade. This was about “opposing protectionism” and “working for an open world economy,” he said.
After encouraging Latin American and Caribbean nations to participate in a major November expo in China, Wang delivered the clincher – Latin America should play a “meaningful” role in the ‘New Silk Roads’, known as the Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese media duly highlighted the invitation.
The Latin American stretch of the Belt and Road project may not turn out to be as ambitious as the Eurasia program. Yet the trend is now clear with Beijing turbo-charging its infrastructure connectivity drive across the region and the Caribbean, with more deals on the way.
The strategic imperative is to build smooth connections across the continent, converging on its Pacific coastline – and forward through maritime supply lines to the Chinese seaboard. You could call it the Pacific Maritime Silk Road.
Last year, Chinese banks and institutions invested US$23 billion in Latin America – the biggest surge since 2010. And they are all in for the long haul.
Predictably, fellow BRICS member Brazil is the largest recipient of Chinese foreign investment for the past 10 years at about $46.1 billion, plus more than $10 billion in acquisitions. Russia, Indian and South Africa are the other nations that make up the BRICS bloc. ...
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