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Una tesis sobre la era política de Xi Jinping

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El politólogo Patricio Giusto, nacido en Gualeguaychú, Entre Ríos, finalizó su  tesis de maestría en estudios sobre China, recientemente aprobada con calificación A, en la Universidad de Zhejiang. Se titula Xi Jinping's political era: Implications and perspectives for Latin America y entre otros temas focaliza la actualidad política de China frente al nuevo contexto político latinoamericano y la relación triangular con Estados Unidos. Tuvo la gentileza de enviarla a Dang Dai para su difusión.

 

-Xi Jinping's political era: Implications and perspectives for Latin America 

中文论文题目:习近平在中国的执政时代:对拉美关系的观点和影响

 

         Por Patricio Javier Giusto

 

ABSTRACT

This research analyzes Xi Jinping’s political era in China regarding the implications and perspectives for the relation with Latin America, considering a series of relevant historical, economic and geopolitical aspects. Latin America has had a historical economic significance for China and vice versa, but since Xi Jinping came into power there has been a remarkable deepening in the ties and expansion to new areas of cooperation, not only in the economic realm.Xi provided a renewed and comprehensive strategic vision, following the path laid out for his predecessors.Latin America has definitely acquired a new geopolitical importance for China, the emerging superpower of the 21st Century. In this new context, there are big challenges but also great opportunities when looking to the future of the relations. The focus of this research is on the following questions: How the relations between China and Latin America have evolved since its origins? Which have been the breaks and continuities in the relations? What Xi Jinping represents for China, for the world and, especially, for Latin America? How has been the political and economic relations with Latin America since Xi took office? Which is his strategy for the region and what is new, when comparing with his predecessors? How will Latin America deal in front of China’s ‘new normal’ economic phase? Can the relations be ‘win-win’ in the present scenario? Is the new political context in Latin America less favorable to China? Is there a new ‘triangle’ in the relations between China, Latin America and the United States? And, finally, what the particular case of the relations between China and Argentina provides in terms of understanding the increasing Chinese interest towards Latin America?

The sources of information of this research are abundant, varied and up to present-day. Numerous prominent specialists in the subject have been included, from China, Latin America and the West in general, in order to provide a comprehensive and plural outlook on the above-mentioned matters.

Key words: China, Xi Jinping, Latin America, Argentina, United States.

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

This opening chapter includes the following introductory subjects: Justification of the topic chosen, explanation of general and specific goals, methodology of research, sources of analysis, theoretical considerations, general aspects of China and its political system and, finally, an overall outlook on Latin America[1] and Argentina.

1.1 Why this topic

The election of my thesis topic has a lot to do with my professional background and research interests. I am a Bachelor in Political Sciences specialized in Political Processes, graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, institution in which I am a regular professor of Political Law, General World History and Introduction to Political Sciences. I also have a Master’s degree in Public Policies from the Latin American Social Sciences Institute, among others postgraduate studies related to political sciences.

Throughout my professional career, I have participated in several social investigations, as well as I have given many lectures. I am also author of numerous publications on the following issues: Latin America and Argentine politics, history and economy, Asian geopolitics, political systems analysis, public policies, social conflict, government communication and political technologies, among others.

During the past years, I have also had the possibility to work both in the private and public sector as a political analyst and advisor for top policy makers in my country. At the same time, I have worked in two prestigious consultancy groups, which allowed me to develop high qualified skills for my field of study. In 2007, I co-founded with a colleague from college my own center of political studies, “Diagnóstico Político”, being since then its Managing Director.

China and Latin America

Regarding the topic chosen, China has recently become a strategic political and economic partner for most of Latin American countries. Despite the enormous geographical distance, the relation between China and LAC has been growing substantially over the last decades, though with a huge potential still to be developed, due to shared complementarities.

LAC is extremely rich in raw materials and agricultural products that China needs, as well as an attractive market for its manufactured products. On the other hand, more and more the Latin American countries need the Chinese investment and financial support in order to improve its underdeveloped infrastructure.

The political and commercial relations between both sides have recently reached unprecedented levels of exchange. Historically defined by the raw materials exports from South America, now the relation with China involves the expansion to previously unexplored fields, such as investment in strategic sectors and financial cooperation.Argentina can serve as a very good example in that sense.

This new context, which is directly linked to recent changes in the Chinese economy and the drop in the commodities prices, awakened huge expectations but also big concerns in LAC. The opinions are divided. There are those who foresee a “win-win” period, which will contribute to the development of Latin American countries. On the other hand, some others consider that this is a return to historical patterns of dependency in a post-commodity boom environment.

With China increasing exponentially its presence in the region, ultimately the discussion remains the same as during the long period when LAC used to be the “backyard” of the United States (US): How to consolidate a more economically and environmentally sustainable relationship with the new ‘big partner’. In that sense, there is a new political context in LAC that will not necessarily be less favorable to China.

This recent phase of the relations between China and LAC has also a clear geopolitical dimension, associated to China becoming a global superpower and its natural expansion to new spheres of influence in the world. Two factors are key to explain this new dynamic: Xi Jinping’s strong leadership, assertiveness and international projection, at the same time the USretreats from LAC, redefining the ‘triangle’ between them.

Bearing all this in mind, I consider that the political period initiated in China under Xi Jinping’s leadership is ushering a new era regarding the ties with LAC, with a renewed strategic vision that aims to deepen and expand the cooperation to new areas. This deserves to be analyzed thoughtfully, in order to contribute to a better understanding of its implications and future perspectives for both sides.

The contribution of this research

The value and originality of this research lies in the fact that represents a comprehensive review of the historical evolution of the relations between China and LAC, with focus in the recent years, since Xi Jinping took office.

Moreover, crucial debates on the future of the relations are addressed considering not only economic aspects, but also a series of historical and geopolitical elements that have been little studied in comparison with the most usual economic approaches.

Finally, the sources of information of this research are abundant, varied and up to present-day. Numerous prominent specialists in the subject have been included, from China, Latin America and the West in general, in order to present a broad and plural outlook.

1.2 General and specific goals

The general goal of this thesis is to analyze the Xi Jinping’s political era in China regarding the implications and perspectives for the relation with LAC, considering a series of relevant historical, economic and geopolitical aspects.

The specific goals are the following:

-         Review the historical evolution of the political and economic relations between China and LAC, from its origins until Xi Jinping came into power.

-         Characterize Xi Jinping’s administration: His personal background, style of leadership, core ideas, central policies, foreign affairs approach and other relevant elements of the Chinese political context since he took office.

-         Analyzethe evolution of the relations between China and LAC during Xi’s time in power, focusing on his strategy for the region and its economic and geopolitical implications.

-         Address three current debates on the present and future of the relations between China and LAC: China’s ‘new normal’ economic phase and its effects on LAC, the new political context in LAC and the ‘triangle’ of relations between China, LAC and the United States.

-         Present the particular case of the relations between China and Argentina, emphasizing the evolution of the relation and relevant events during Xi’s period.

1.3Methodology, sources of analysis and theoretical considerations

Due to subject of this thesis and the technical requirements provided by the academic authorities of the Master of China Studies at Zhejiang University, the methodology to conduct this research was preeminently qualitative, based on the following bibliographical and empirical sources[2]:

1) Official documents and economic statistics from the Chinese and Latin American Governments, as well as multilateral organizations’ releases.

2) Books, academic articles, press releases and other specialized publications, both from the Chinese and Western -especially Latin American- sides.

3) Specific interviews with academic referents for the case analysis of Argentina.

Concerning the theoretical basis, this paper is focused on general historical, geopolitical and economic aspects of the relation between China and LAC, regarded as relevant according to the defined goals of research.

The historical review presented on the relation between China and LAC aims to succinctly highlight the key political and economic events of the history of the relation, in order to provide context for the analysis of the current scenario. Also, the purpose is to identify the main changes and continuities in the relation.

When referring to the economic aspects of the relation between China and LAC, the emphasis will be put on the main flows of trade, financing and investments. The increasing liberalization in commerce and the bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTA) will be also taken into account, as crucial factors for the relation between both sides.

On the other hand, geopolitics is understood as the “study of the influence of such factors as geography, economics, and demography in politics and, especially, the foreign policy of a State”.[3] The most relevant factors usually considered in geopolitics analysis are: advantageous geographical position, abundant natural resources, favorable climate, extent of territory, access to the sea and population large enough to defend its territory.

The word ‘geopolitics’ was originally coined in 1901 by the Swedish political scientist Rudolf Kjellén (1864-1922). However, German geographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904) is generally considered the founding father of modern geopolitics, after his famous essay “Lebensraum” (1901) related to biogeography. Many schools of geopolitics proliferated during the 20th Century, especially in France, United Kingdom, Russia and the United States.[4]

The Chinese role in modern geopolitics is very interesting, given the fact that the widely influential essay of military strategy “The Art of War” -written around the Fifth Century BC and credited to Sun Zi- has been extremely influential for most of modern and contemporary geopolitics theorists. “The Art of War” has been worldwide regarded as one of the most prominent works of military strategy, affecting both Eastern and Western philosophy and political sciences.[5]

1.4 General aspects of China and its political system

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary and multiethnic sovereign State, located in East Asia. With a population of over 1.381 billion, it is the world’s most populous country. Since 1949, the State is governed by the Communist Party of China (CPC, from now on), and its capital is Beijing. China is composed by 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong and Macau).[6]

Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, China is the world’s second largest State by land area. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies known as dynasties.

In 1912, The Republic of China (ROC) replaced the last dynasty (Qing), and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949, when it was defeated by the Communist People’s Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War. The CPC established the People’s Republic in 1949, while the ROC government relocated to Taiwan with its present de facto temporary capital in Taipei. The Government of the PRC also considers Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory, according to the indeclinable “One China Policy”.[7]

China’s political institutions

According to China’s State Constitution, enacted in 1982, the National People’s Congress (NPC) oversees the State Council, as well as four other institutions: The Presidency, the Supreme People’s Court, the Public Prosecutors’ Office, and the Military. NPC deputies are expected to approve all budgets, agency reports, and personnel appointments put before them. The NPC’s most significant power is its ability to initiate and shape legislation.[8][9]

The formal political system also includes two other categories of institutions, although they have little substantive power. The first is People’s Political Consultative Conferences (PPCCs), the most senior level of which is known as the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee. The Party and State ostensibly ‘consult’ with PPCCs on policy issues.[10]

The second set of institutions is China’s eight minor political parties, known as the ‘democratic parties’. All the parties were established before the Communists came to power, pledge loyalty to the CPC, and accept its leadership. The existence of the PPCCs and the minor parties allows the CPC to describe China’s political system as one of multi-party cooperation and political consultation led by the CPC.[11]

Structure of the Communist Party

The seven men who sit on the country’s most senior decision-making body, the CPC’s Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), form a collective leadership in which each man has a rank, from one to seven, and shoulders primary responsibility for a specific portfolio. Since 2013, Party General Secretary Xi Jinping is ranked first among the seven and has responsibility for convening PSC and larger Politburo meetings. He also controls some of the most consequential portfolios, including military and foreign affairs.[12]

Below the PSC, the CPC has other three levels: The full Politburo (25 members), the Central Committee (205 members and 171 alternate) and the Party Congress (2,270 delegates). The CPC has around 82.6 million members, which constitute approximately 6% of China’s population.Regarding China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) it is an armed wing of the CPC, with the Party’s exercise of “absolute leadership” over the military, representing a fundamental guarantee of CPC rule.[13]

The economy and the place of China in the international community

Since the introduction of the “reform and opening-up” policies in 1978, under Deng Xiaoping leadership, China has become one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies. Since 2010, when surpassed Japan, China is the world’s second-largest economy by nominal GDP and largest by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), inferior only to the United States, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).[14]

China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. Its currency, the Renminbi (RMB), trades in the world’s financial centers and exchanges in bilateral trade between numerous countries. China has, as well, the world’s largest standing army and second-largest defense budget.

In 1971, the PRC became a member of the United Nations and has permanent seat in its Security Council. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including UN, WTO, APEC, BRICS, SCO, BCIM, G-8 and G-20.

1.5 General outlook of Latin America and Argentina

Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Americas where Romance languages derived from Latin are predominant.Especially Spanish, but also Portuguese, French, and the creole languages based upon these. Latin America is therefore broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic-America, though it usually excludes French speaking countries and other dependencies.[15]

LAC consists of twenty-one sovereign states and several territories and dependencies which cover an area that stretches from the northern border of Mexico to the southern tip of South America, including the Caribbean islands. It has an area of approximately 19,197,000 km2, almost 13% of the Earth’s land surface area.

The Latin American countries and other dependencies are the following, in alphabetical order and divided by sub-regions:

Central America: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (in some cases, considered as part of North America along with the United States and Canada), Nicaragua and Panama.

South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. This sub-region also includes French Guiana (overseas department of France),

The Caribbean: It is integrated by 30 territories, including sovereign states, overseas departments, and other dependencies. The most important sovereign states are Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti. This sub-region has several small dependencies and constituent entities, such as Guadeloupe (overseas department of France) and Puerto Rico (U.S. Commonwealth and former Spanish territory), among others.

The Caribbean also includes a series of small independent countries, such as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as other dependencies, that were part of the British and Dutch colonization periods.

Demography, economy and politics in Latin America

As of 2015, the population of LAC was estimated at more than 626 million, with Brazil (205 million) and México (122 million) leading in that field. According to the World Bank, in 2014 LAC had a combined nominal GDP of 5,573,397 million USD and a GDP PPP of 7,531,585 million USD.

LAC is predominantly and under-developed region, though some countries like Chile and Uruguay have reached human development and income rates well above the average of the region. Latin America’s GDP per capita has fluctuated around world average over the past decades and the region has grown at slower pace, compared with the Asian countries.[16]

The world share output of LAC had declined from 9.5% in 1980 to 7.8% by 2008. In that sense, except for a few cases, the “commodities boom” during the last decade didn’t turn into development for the countries of region.[17]

Poverty continues to be one of the region’s main challenges, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC).[18] It is something often hard to understand by foreign observers, as the region is extremely rich in natural and human resources. For instance, in Venezuela, country that is going through the worst economic crisis of its entire history, poverty has reached the scandalous level of 81% during 2016.[19]

On the other hand, republican democracy is nowadays the predominant political system adopted by the countries of LAC, after many waves of military dictatorships occurred during the 20th Century. However, political turmoil, economic volatility and social unrest have been a constant all along the region, since the new democratic era initiated after the 1980s. Nevertheless, LAC remains to be broadly considered as a land full of opportunities and huge potential of development.

Argentina[20]

The Republic of Argentina is a federal sovereign country located in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with its neighbor Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south.

With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2, Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world and the second largest in LAC after Brazil. The country is subdivided into twenty-three provinces (autonomous and autarchic entities) and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the Nation.

The provinces and the City of Buenos Aires have their own constitutions, but exist as inseparable parts of the Federal State. Argentina claims its permanent and indeclinable sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Malvinas Islands (under British usurpation since 1833), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The country has its roots in the Spanish colonization of the region during the 16th century. The first independent government was established in 1810, in Buenos Aires. After the wars for liberation against the Spanish Empire, the Independence was declared in 1816. This was followed by an extended civil war between the unitary party and the federalists that lasted until 1853, when the first national and federal Constitution was enacted. However, internal conflicts between Buenos Aires and the federalist provinces remained until the end of the 1870s.

Argentina thereafter enjoyed relative peace and stability, with massive waves of European immigration radically reshaping its cultural and demographic outlook. The almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity led to Argentina becoming the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world by the early 20th century.

In 1930, the country suffered the first military coup under democratic ruling, leading to a military dictatorship (1930-1932). It represented the beginning of a long period of political instability and recurring economic crisis that resulted in successive military dictatorships (1943-1946; 1966-1973 and 1976-1983).

Since the definite return to democratic ruling, in 1983, the country alternated governments from different political parties. But a series of deep economic and political crisis, especially the one occurred in 2001, which led to a historic default, continued to be a hallmark of the country. By the end of 2016, 30.3% of the Argentine population was still poor, according to official statistics.[21]

Nonetheless, Argentina has currently the second largest economy in South America after Brazil and the third-largest in LAC. Moreover, the World Bank still qualifies the country with a rating of “very high income”.[22] Regarding demography, Argentina is the fourth most populated country in LAC (around 40 million by 2010), after Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

In international affairs, Argentina is a member of the G-20 major economies. It is also a founding member of United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Mercosur, Union of South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Organization of Ibero-American States, among other multilateral organizations.

 

CHAPTER II

REVIEW ON THE HISTORY OF THE RELATIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND LATIN AMERICA

This chapter aims to briefly depict the historical evolution of the relation between China and Latin America, focusing on key political and economic events, in order to distinguish breaks and continuities and also provide context to analyze the current situation. The emphasis is posed on the period from 1949, when the People’s Republic was established, to 2012, when Xi Jinping was appointed as China’s supreme leader.

2.1 Tracing back the origins of the relation: From the ‘Coolie trade’ to the Republic of China

Many historians claim that Sino-Latin American relations go as far back as the 16th Century. By that time, the recent process of European colonization in the region was rapidly expanding to all edges of the so-called ‘New World’.

The first contacts between China and LAC were through the exchange of goods. “The ‘silk road of the sea’ saw 20 to 60 ships sail between China’s coastal regions and Mexico’s Acapulco harbor every year. Via a stopover in the Spanish colony of Manila, in the Philippines, goods like silk, cotton, jewelry and gun powder were shipped to the New World in exchange for shoes, olive oil and wine, creating a trade route that persisted until 1815”, describes American journalist Alex McAnarney.[23]

During the late 19th to early 20th Century, Chinese immigrants arrived as manual laborers known derogatorily as “coolies”. Under semi-slavery conditions, these immigrants came to further shape the societies they inhabited.Many Chinese nationals arrived in LAC, especially Mexico, as personal servants of Spanish merchants and members of the royalty.[24]

“The so-called ‘Manila Galleons’ carried silk, porcelain, tea and other Chinese and Asian goods to the New World and thence to Europe, while carrying back silver from the mines of Nueva España -New Spain, which became Mexico - silver that provided the money supply to fuel the Chinese economy”, comments Germán Muñoz, president of the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.[25]

The ‘Silver Way’ was the Pacific leg of, perhaps, the first global trade route, extending to Mexico and thence to Spain and Europe.The Chinese crews were largely from Fijian province.[26]

Historian Tatiana Seijas provides more details on this matter: “During the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, countless slaves from culturally diverse communities in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia journeyed to Mexico on the ships of the Manila Galleon. On arrival in Mexico, slave owners and Spanish officials grouped them together, overlooked their social and linguistic differences, and categorized them as ‘chinos’”.[27]

Arnold Meagher, author of an exhaustive research on the Chinese laborers traffic to LAC, adds his point of view: “The termination of the African slave trade, an urgent need for laborers in the West, and a deteriorating Chinese economy conspired to spawn the emigration of more than a quarter million Chinese laborers to Latin America, in the span of 28 years (1847-1874)”.[28]

The Chinese immigration to Central and South America

In the rest of Central American countries, Nicaragua and Panama led the way in the reception of Chinese population. The presence of Chinese nationals in Nicaragua can be traced back to 1920. The majority, from Guangdong province, set up small businesses or worked in the mines.In Panama, around the same period, Chinese immigrants arrived to work on the construction of the Canal. Their descendants later established a thriving community, successfully integrated with the local population and economy.[29]

In South America, Peru was pioneer in receiving ethnic Chinese immigrants. In fact, the country nowadays maintains the largest and most vibrant Chinese community in the region. “The first Chinese immigrants -mostly Cantonese- were brought to Peru in 1849 as contract laborers to till the sugar and cotton plantations along the coastal valleys and dig the guano mines of the Chincha Islands”.[30] Again, the conditions of the workers were of virtual slavery and many of them would die during the dangerous and exhausting labors.

In 1912, Peru received another big wave of refugees fleeing Sun Yat-Sen’s newly founded Republic. A third wave soon followed, prompted by the imposition of Communist rule in 1949. Other countries of South America, like Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Suriname also received large concentrations of ethnic Chinese during the first decades of the 20th Century.

The late Qing dynasty and the Republic of China’s period

Peru was the first Latin American country to sign an official agreement with China, in 1874, under the Qing dynasty ruling. It was about “Friendship, commerce and navigation”. The Brazilian Empire reached a similar understanding in 1883 and so did Mexico, in 1889. In 1915, Chile and Bolivia signed bilateral agreements related to commerce and cultural exchange.[31]

During the tumultuous years of the Republic of China, founded in 1912 after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, the relations between China and LAC remained distant, with few formal exchanges between governments. However, as it was noted before, many Latin American countries received more Chinese population fleeing from the country, for either political reasons or the prospect of better living conditions.[32]

2.2 The “cultural diplomacy”: Relations during Mao’s times

After the Chinese Civil War (1927-1937/1946-1950) and the War of Resistance Against the Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), a new political era began in China under the ruling of Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Civil War’s victor Communist Party and founder of the People’s Republic.

According to the opinion of French sinologist François Lafargue, “for its first fifty years after the foundation, in 1949, the PRC took little interest in LAC”.[33] The US exercised unrivalled political and economic influence in the region, as most of the countries were aligned with Washington’s leadership and policies. “Previous to the decade of 1970s, Latin America played no role for Chinese diplomacy. Only non-official contacts existed, limited to the so-called ‘cultural diplomacy’”, comments Chilean sinologist Liksa Gálvez.[34]

“While Cuba established diplomatic relations with China from 1960 onwards, most Latin American governments waited until President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing, in February 1972, before recognizing the People’s Republic: in 1972, Argentina, Peru and Mexico recognized the PRC, followed by Brazil and Venezuela in 1974 and, later still, Bolivia in 1985”, recounts Lafargue.[35]

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence

It is important to note that, despite the normalization in relations came only in the 1970s, China’s interest in cooperating with Southern countries had increased after the formulation of the ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence’.They date back to the Bandung Conference, celebrated in 1955. In that period, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai realized how important it was for the PRC to promote a more flexible and open diplomacy in order to allow the formation of a “zone of peace” between China and the capitalist block dominated by the US.[36]

The Principles involved: Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, noninterference in each other’s domestic affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.[37] This proposal pretended to be attractive for Latin American countries, given the economic and geopolitical context during the period posterior to the World War II. Mid-size countries like Argentina were looking for a ‘third position’ between the United States’ capitalism and Soviet communism. This stance was the precedent for the later foundation, in 1961, of the Non-Aligned Movement.[38]

In this same context also became popular the so-called “dependency theory”, originally formulated by Argentine economist from UNECLAC, Raúl Prebisch.[39]This theory worked well to explain the supposed disadvantageous situation of the peripheral and underdeveloped countries in front of the rich and dominant centers. According to Prebisch, this was because terms of trade for underdeveloped countries had deteriorated over time in relation to the developed countries.In any case, such approaches also served to conceal the general inefficiency of Latin American welfare states and its closed-uncompetitive economies at that time.

By the end of Mao Zedong’s period, the cultural cooperation started slowly to turn into political and economic cooperation with most of the countries of LAC, in front of previously unexplored compatibilities. Nonetheless, the Taiwan issue led to several exceptions, especially Central America’s countries, which decided to reject the ‘One China Policy’ and maintain formal relations with the “Republic of China” settled in Taiwan.[40]

2.3 The Deng Xiaoping’s period: New era for China and for the relations with Latin America

China’s deep economic ‘Reform and Opening’ process initiated in 1978 under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership, resulted in a rapid growth and integration of China to the world market, culminating decades later with its admission to the World Trade Organization, in 2001. China shifted from a centrally planned economy to a market driven one, with an extraordinary and unprecedented pace of growth, turning itself into a trading superpower within few years.

“When Deng came into power, having accumulated enormous political experience, he knew very well what he wanted: a rich and powerful China, owner of its destiny and able to occupy a prominent place in the international order. Above all, Deng wanted a China that could never again be humiliated by other powers, as it had been from 1840 to 1945”, recounts former Spanish Ambassador to China, Eugenio Bregolat.[41]

A new flourishing period for the relations with Latin America

The Deng Xiaoping’s era was a turning point for China’s economic development and definitely set the precedent for a new phase of flourishing relations with Latin American countries. Mexican sinologist Enrique Dussel Peters affirms that “much of China’s relationship with Latin America is a product of domestic developments within China since reforms that began in the late 1970s”.[42] Those reforms allowed a rapid expansion of China’s economic presence in Latin America, as well as in other regions of the global commercial dynamics.

Cuban economist Manuel Regalado Florido goes deeper into the reasons behind the substantial change in the relations between China and LAC during this period. “Based on the evolution of China and Latin America in the 1980s, several motivations emerged from each side, owing to the particular, respective necessities, which allowed gradual and sustained advance of the bilateral ties. With the process of economic reform and external opening in China, the international economic relations acquired and outstanding pragmatism related to its economic development. In this context, the relationship with Latin America was re-defined”, he explains.[43]

Continuity with Zhou Enlai’s ‘Principles’

According to his personal theory of war and peace, Deng Xiaoping considered: “China will always belong to the Third World and, as the most populous nation among the Third World countries, China is an important factor for the development of the forces for world peace”.[44] The continuity with Zhou Enlai’s previously referred ‘Five Principles…’ is clear. In the international arena, Deng position helped to continue building bridges between China and the so-called Third World, where Latin America was included in that time.

The neoliberal wave

By the end of the 1980s, LAC underwent the upsurge of neo-liberal policies, based on the assumption that market liberalization was the key factor to promote savings, investments and productivity. Macroeconomic mismanagement and ‘shock policies’ to produce a rapid liberalization during the period led to a deep financial crisis that shook the whole region and led to the demise of the state-led period. In comparison, China certainly took a more managed and gradual approach.

A reform package for crisis-wracked developing countries was promoted by Washington DC based institutions, such as the IMF, the World Bank and the US Treasury Department. In 1989, British economist John Williamson baptized these set of policies as ‘Washington Consensus’.[45]

The policies carried out by the Latin American governments were mainly based on the experiences of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) and US President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989). According to Regalado Florido, “the measures implemented comprised trade liberalization, the dismantling of unprofitable public companies, privatizing State assets, fiscal reform, liberalization of interest rates, lower requirements and expedite procedure for foreign investments, and the deregulation of many mechanisms of the financial system”.[46]

However, neoliberalism became dominant in LAC, particularly during the 1990s. American economist Lara Kelly opines that happened “because of the debt crisis, the availability of highly educated technocrats, a new middle class of entrepreneurs, the failure of import substitution industrialization, and public support”.[47] The only regional exception was Chile, which began its neoliberal project in the mid 1970s.

Given this context, with parallel processes of economic liberalization, “the China-LAC relations, both from the economic and political points of view, showed a modest, but steady pace during the 1980s”, says Regalado Florido.[48]

In the case of Latin American countries, the outcome of the neoliberal wave was, in most of the cases, disastrous and triggered deep economic and political crises. “In response to the crises of the 1980s the region was forced to adopt the Washington Consensus, the dominant economic paradigm that ended with a major financial crisis in Argentina in 2002”, pointsin that respect Kevin Gallagher, American expert in Latin American affairs.[49]

Over the Deng late years in power, China’s main interests in LAC continued to be focused on the economic field, as the region signifieda stable market for imports of raw materials, energy, food and a destination for its external investments and industrial exports.[50] But other geopolitical reasons, like securing diplomatic support for the Chinese global re-positioning were also relevant matters that cannot be excluded when analyzing this historical phase.[51]

Closing this period, in 1990 Yang Shangkun became the first Chinese President to visit LAC. The 82-year-old leadermade official visits to Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.[52] It was in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, where hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators died under the martial law. Certainly, the most delicate moment during Deng’s times leading China.

2.4 Expansion and deepening in the relations with Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin’ Presidency (1993-2002) brought a further deepening of the reforms in the Chinese economic system. The economic ties, particularly in trade, experienced a significant boost regarding the China-LAC relations. As a result, total trade reached $12.6 billion by the year 2000, with an average annual growth rate over 20% during the decade.[53]

However, with respect to the specific Chinese counterparts in this period, the trade links were not homogeneous for the entire region. “China gave priority to the links with the more economically relevant countries like Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile. In this stage, the bilateral trade started taking off, surpassing the previously marginal levels”, remarks Regalado Florido.[54]

Moreover, political reasons, especially in relation to the position of several countries that remained reluctant to acknowledge the ‘One China Policy’, also played an important role in the configuration of China’s priorities in the region.[55]

China joins Latin American organizations

On the other hand, China reaffirmed his attention to LAC by joining several multilateral organizations from the region. In 1994, China became an observer of the ALADI (Latin American Integration Association) and, in 1996, established a political and diplomatic cooperation dialogue with the MERCOSUR(‘Southern Common Market’, linking Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela)”, explains Argentine sinologist Carlos Moneta.[56]

In addition, in 1998 the Bank of Development of the Caribbean was linked as a non-regional member and, in 1999, China established a mechanism for mutual consultation with the Andean Community.[57]

When analyzing this decade, Lafargue considers that China’s increasing interest in LAC may be explained in terms of three imperatives: oil supplies, minerals and agricultural products. When it comes to oil, he points: “By 2002, China had become the world’s second biggest consumer of oil, after the United States but ahead of Japan. Latin America, with 9.7% of the world’s oil reserves, was producing by 2005 8.8% of world output”.[58]

That is why China established by the end of Jiang Zemin’s period particularly close relations with Venezuela (specially after Hugo Chávez came into power, in 1999), one of the world’s biggest oil producers.[59]  The same can be noted regarding mining, with Chile, Mexico and Brazil. Meanwhile, in agriculture, Argentina soon became one the most important Chinese provider of soy and other soy-based products.

The ‘Go Out Policy’ and Jiang’s historic trip to Latin America

Another aspect of the relation during this period is the role of some Chinese companies that started to explore LAC as an appealing destination for big investments. In 1999, China initiated the ‘Go Out Policy’ (also commonly referred to as the ‘Going Global Strategy’). The Chinese Government introduced several schemes to assist domestic companies in developing a global strategy to exploit opportunities in the expanding local and international markets, such as the Latin American case. Nowadays, the OBOR project can be regarded as the ultimate expression of this policy.[60]

Given this framework, Jiang Zemin did a historic trip to several Latin American countries in 2001. He visited Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Cuba and Venezuela.[61] Besides the important announcements and numerous agreements signed, the most relevant was the powerful symbolism of the trip, as it was the first State-level visit of a Chinese supreme leader to LAC. The following year, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji also visited Mexico. Former Premier Li Peng had previously visited Peru and Mexico, in 1995.[62]

Jiang Zemin concluded his presidency after the long-awaited inclusion of China as a member of the WTO, in 2001. The economic results achieved by China during that period and its definite insertion in the world economy, together with the maturity of its political relations with the Latin American countries, set the basis for the forthcoming big boom in the political and economic cooperation between both sides.[63]

2.5 The impressive boost in the relations during Hu Jintao’s period

In 2002, Hu Jintao was appointed as the new President of the PRC, in replacement of Jiang Zemin. Under Hu’s administration, which concluded ten years later, China consolidated as a major world power. Hu sought to improve socio-economic equality, aiming to build a “Harmonious Socialist Society”, prosperous and free of social conflict. Looking back on it now, his administration was successful in achieving the proposed goals.

For the relations with LAC, Hu’s period signified and explosive growth in the cooperation. Commercial exchanges expanded to unprecedented levels. According to official Chinese statistics, the trade between China and LACincreased by 1,200% or from US$10 to US$130 billion between the years 2000 and 2009. By 2011, the value of trade increased to the extraordinary figure of US$241.5 billion.[64]

Hu’s several trips to Latin America in a favorable political context

In 2004, President Hu Jintao did a trip to Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and Chile, where he attended and APEC summit. In 2005,Hu visited Mexico, reaffirming Beijing’s increasing interest in the region, particularly on Latin America’s huge potential in natural resources. Big announcements were made during these visits regarding political cooperation, trade, as well as billionaire investments in sectors such as energy, agriculture and transportation.[65]

In 2004, China joined as an observer country of the Organization of American States (OAS) and committed to the offer of scholarships for education in Chinese institutions and to the economic contribution in OAS projects. Between 2005 and 2014, China donated USD 172 million in scholarships and contributed with USD 2.5 million to OEA projects.[66]

Hu came back to LAC in other opportunities during his term in office. He visited Costa Rica, Cuba and Peru, in 2008. He also went to Brazil, in 2010, and Mexico, in 2012. Besides, the Premier Wen Jiabao tripped to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, in the same year. Meanwhile, Vice-president Zheng Qinghong also visited Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.[67]

The political situation in the region, with leftistChina-friendly parties leading most of Latin American countries, was very favorable for Chinese purposes. “Even after several centuries of connection in immigration and trade, a substantively new, and deeper, relationship has emerged since 2000”, stresses Dussel Peters in this sense.[68]

The ‘Beijing Consensus’

Goldman and Sachs’ American economist Joshua Cooper Ramo coined the well-recalled phrase ‘Beijing Consensus’, to refer to the successful set of policies that turned China into an economic superpower. He poses China’s economic model as an alternative -especially for developing countries- to the ‘Washington Consensus’. Ramo considers that China gained a significant success in international cooperation and economic development without having to sacrifice its national autonomy and goals, unlike what happened under the ‘Washington Consensus’ model.[69]

According to Spaniard sinologist Jorge Sanz[70], the Beijing Consensus is based on three key points:

1) Heterodoxy in economic policies, which implies a continuous transformation and adaptation, according to each specific country and context.

2) The purpose of the cooperation is not the increment of the GDP but rather a sustainable and egalitarian growth.

3) Freedom of choice for the countries to decide the economic policies they want to implement.

Free Trade Agreements and cooperation with the United States

For the Pacific located countries, China started to exhibit in the 2000s a strategy based on the establishment of FTA. In 2006, Chile became the first Latin American country to sign a FTA with China. The other regional countries that also signed FTA with China were Costa Rica (2007) and Peru (2009).[71] Uruguay and Colombia, among other countries, also have explored the possibility to sign a FTA.

The Costa Rica agreement had more political than economic reasons. China needed to gain more support in the Caribbean, were several countries still recognize Taiwan.[72] Another way of approaching to this complex sub-region was by sending military personnel to contribute with the UN peace-keeping operation in Haiti.[73]

It is also important to mention that, in 2006, China and the United States established a mechanism of bilateral dialogue on LAC, with the aim of improving the mutual understanding of the policies established towards the region.[74]

The first Policy Paper for Latin America

The relations Between China and LAC reached a new ‘strategic’ level in 2008, when the Chinese Government issued the “China Policy Paper on LAC and the Caribbean, first official document of this kind related to the region.[75] It set out a series of general objectives of Chinese policy towards the region and the principles under which cooperative relations with the region will be developed.

The white paper established long-term goals based on the existence of “abundant raw materials,” growing economic linkages and the preeminence of the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”. The document highlights fourteen areas of cooperation, including trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, tourism as well as security, cultural and social issues.[76] Since the paper’s release, China has focused on deepening South-South relationships, regional infrastructure needs, and cooperation in economic and trade issues.[77]

Shoujun Cui, Chinese expert from the Center of Latin American Studies of Renmin University of China, has studied in deep the Chinese geopolitics in relation to LAC, during the last years. He has a critical view on the 2008 policy paper. “The stereotyped and ambiguous narratives set in China’s white paper gave rise to the apparition of a set of misperceptions and misunderstandings that blurred its capacity to design a more accurate and concrete policy approach toward Latin America. Judged from the document, China not only assumed Latin America as a unified region, but also tended to view it in a systematic way, which actually has been an illusory picture”, he considers.[78]

And he concludes: “Deinstitutionalization and fragmentation are still characterizing Latin America, and these factors make countries in the region develop varying degrees of autonomy and diplomatic stances when voicing their opinions to extra-regional actors, especially China”.[79] Looking back on this now, China has evolved a lot in improving its understanding of the multiple political, economic, cultural and social realities coexisting in such a huge and complex region as LAC.

The factors that defined the relations with LAC during Hu’s period

From Dussel Peters viewpoint, the China-LAC relationship over Hu’s times in power is defined by four factors: “political relations; trade, investment and financing; energy and infrastructure; and education and cultural exchanges”.[80] These basic factors, roughly speaking, certainly have continued to shape the relation until present time.

Sam Wang, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA),ponders two major factors to explain the increasing cooperation: “First, the sheer size of the Chinese economy has generated a huge demand for commodities from abroad, and Latin America fulfills China’s demand through the exportation of petroleum, copper, soybeans, gold, and other primary products.[81]

“Second, Chinese construction companies, which have risen to the top of the field worldwide thanks to decades of economic boom in China, are suffering from an excess of capacity due to the slowing down of Chinese economic growth. Those companies have been expanding abroad to absorb their overcapacity, and Latin America is now becoming one of their major destinations”, explains Wang.[82]

Another important aspect of Hu’s decade is how China dealt with the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, originated by the crisis in the subprime mortgage market in the US. Many experts agree that China was one of very few countries to escape the world financial crisis and experienced only a mild slowdown in economic activity, without a recession.[83] And same happened to most Latin American countries, what resulted in a new opportunity to boost the relations with China.

“It was very fortunate for Latin America that China recovered rapidly from the global financial crisis, as many South American countries benefited from the booming Chinese economy and increasing demand for oil, iron ore, copper, and other resources, and thus, the prices for these goods increased quickly in the midst of the crisis”, comments Singaporean economist Iromi Dharmawardhane.[84]

The economic balance of Hu’s era

By 2009, 7% of LAC's exports was to China. It consisted largely of raw materials and commodities such as copper, iron ore, oil, and soybeans. China became the largest export market for Brazil, Chile, and Peru and the second largest for Argentina, Costa Rica, and Cuba. Four nations contributed 90% of the exports: Brazil (41%), Chile (23.1%), Argentina (15.9%), and Peru (9.3%). At the same time, 5% of China's exports went to LAC in 2009 and consisted mainly of industrial and manufactured goods.[85]

In the following three years, until the end of Hu’s term in office, the political and economic exchanges with LAC continued to growing steadily. In June 2012, Premier Wen Jiabao proposed the creation of a forum of cooperation between China and LAC and the establishment of a dialogue mechanism between the foreign affairs ministries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean State (CELAC).[86] He did so during his previously referred trip to South America.

By the end of 2012, the total volume of Chinese-Latin American trade was 24 times larger than it was in 2000. This impressive growth has been defined as a “commercial feast”, by some Chinese scholars, like Yunxia Yue.[87] For his part, Kevin Gallagher considers that LAC “won the China lottery” during this period, although the region could not capitalize the benefits of the context.[88]

It is important to note that 92% of Latin American exports to China were commodities and 85% of Chinese foreign direct investment went to extractive industries, as well as did 60% of Chinese loans.[89]The expansion of trade during Hu’s period coincided with an increase of the commercial deficit for LAC. This was particularly evident in the case of Mexico, which held a US$51,215 millions deficit against China in 2012, while Argentina's reached US$ 4,953 million in the same year.[90]These tendencies would remain or even deepen, in some cases, during Xi Jinping’s forthcoming period.

In terms of direct investment, China only started to play an important role in the region in 2010, when Sinopec and CNOCC acquired Brazilian and Argentine oil companies for US$ 14,000 million. Before that, FDI was irrelevant, maybe with the exception of Ecuador and Venezuela in the oil field. Almost 90% of the Chinese investments were focused on natural resources and China soon became the main investor in oil and gas extraction in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela.[91]

China also started to position itself as an important financial partner for LAC. Since the 2008 crisis, China has signed bilateral swap arrangements with Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The PRC has also granted loans that were allocated mainly for the development of infrastructure and energy projects (70%) and mining (25%). Moreover, China has played an important role in helping Latin American countries reduce their financial dependency on its traditional allies, like the US and Europe. In particular, China promoted the establishment of the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Agreement which represent an alternative to the IMF and the World Bank.[92][93]

To conclude this aspect, thefinancial support was well welcomed by Latin American Governments, but the increasing commercial deficits during this period generated debates and led to harsh critics from academic and political sectors about the questionable role of China, seen by many as some kind of an emerging neo-colonialist superpower.

Likewise, environmental and social safeguard concerns raised.[94]Again, it is important to ponder the favorable political environment in LAC during Hu’s period, with an upsurge of ‘China friendly’ parties in power, dominating the regional political scene. That would be no longer the case during Xi Jinping’s times in power.

CHAPTER III

XI JINPING’S NEW POLITICAL ERA IN CHINA

The present chapter provides a succinct characterization of Xi Jinping’s administration, which includes: Xi’s personal background and style of leadership, his core ideas, central policies and achievements, as well as other relevant elements from the political context since he took office. Specific references to Xi’s viewpoint on Latin America are not included, as the topic will be addressed in detail in the following chapter.

3.1 Xi’s personal background and style of leadership

Xi Jinping was born in Beijing, in June 1953. He belongs to the Han ethnic group and his family comes from Fuping, Shaanxi Province. He graduated from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Tsinghua University with a major in Marxist theory and ideological and political education. He also has an in-service postgraduate education and holds the degree of Doctor of Laws.Xi is married for the second time to the famous Chinese singer Peng Liyuan, since 1987.They have one daughter, Xi Mingze.[95]

Xi Jinping is the son of revolutionary general Xi Zhongxun (1913–2002), a comrade of Chairman Mao Zedong, later purged from the party in 1963, due to his support for a novel regarded as critical of Mao. In 1966, Xi Zhongxun was expelled from Beijing to undertake hard labor, in the context of the Cultural Revolution period (1966-1976). Three years later, Xi Jinping was sent to the Shaanxi countryside, in central China, becoming a ‘sent-down youth’.[96]

In 1974, Xi successfully applied to join the CPC after ten failed attempts. His father, nowadays consideredone of the “Eight Immortals” of the CPC, was fully rehabilitated in 1978 and appointed second secretary to Guangdong Province. The following year, Xi Jinping began to work at the Central Military Commission as Defense Minister Geng Biao’s secretary.[97]

In 1982, Xi was sent to Zhengding County in Hebei as deputy Party Secretary of Zhengding County. He was promoted in 1983 to Secretary, becoming the top official of the county. Xi subsequently served in four provinces during his regional political career: Hebei (1982–1985), Fujian (1985–2002), Zhejiang (2002–2007), and Shanghai (2007).[98]

Xi joined the Politburo Standing Committee and central secretariat in October 2007, spending the next five years as Hu Jintao’s presumed successor. Xi was vice-president from 2008 to 2013 and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 2010 to 2012.[99]

The strongest Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping

On 15th November 2012, Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the CPC and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission by the 18thCentral Committee of the CPC. This implies being also the head of the State and President of the PRC. He is referred to as China’s “Paramount Leader” and, in 2016, was recognized by the CPC as its leadership “core” (hexin).[100]

Since he took office, Xi has consolidated his grip in power and became the strongest Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping’s political era (1978-1993). David Lampton, American professor of China Studies, considers that this was mainly because “Xi has acquired poweron a very different basis of legitimacy than his predecessors, with his authority resting on a selection process that involved many in a ‘selectorate’”.[101]

However, Xi’s personal attributes play a decisive role. When it comes to the exercise of power, Xi has shown a remarkable ability to centralize power, strongly lead the party and carry out his decisions with impressive effectiveness and self-determination. In that sense, Xi’s strong style is notably different from his immediate predecessor, Hu Jintao, characterized by a low-key profile.

3.2 Xi’s core ideas[102]

Xi’s core ideas can be summarized in the “four comprehensives”, a list of big political goals for China.

1- Comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society.

2- Comprehensively deepen reform.

3- Comprehensively govern the nation according to law.

4- Comprehensively strictly govern the Party.

They follow the path of Xi’s immediate predecessors, in a sequence that can be drawn as follows: The “Four Cardinal Principles” of Deng Xiaoping, the “Three Representations” of Jiang Zemin and the “Three Doctrines” -sometimes referred to as ‘slogans’- to establish a “harmonious society” of Hu Jintao.

The Four Comprehensives have been developed incrementally since Xi came into power to present, also named as “Comprehensive deepening reforms”. In February 2015, they unveiled as official party and national strategy in advance of the Annual Dual Session (lianghui) of China's National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The Four Comprehensives were soon expressed in a new mode, as “the Five Developments”: Innovation, coordination, green development, opening-up and sharing. They were introduced at the 5th plenary of 18th CPC Central Committee, in 2015.[103]

However, Xi has put forward and overall concept to define the main goal of his Presidency: The “Chinese Dream”. He first mentioned this concept in 2012 and, since then, the use of the phrase has been widespread in official announcements.[104]

During a speech addressed in May 2013, Xi said that young people should “dare to dream, work assiduously to fulfill the dreams and contribute to the revitalization of the nation”. “The Chinese Dream is about Chinese prosperity, collective effort, socialism, and national glory”, he proclaimed.[105]

This idea is deeply connected with the “two centenary goals” of the CPC, aiming in the economic realm to double by 2020 the 2010 GDP and per capita income of urban and rural residents. Hence, China will be able to build a “moderately prosperous society” and a “modern socialistic country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of the century”.[106]

Somehow, the “Chinese Dream” became the hallmark of Xi’s political ideology, not only on the face of the Chinese people, but also before the rest of the world. Moreover, the use of this concept by Xi sparked controversy, for its resemblance with US President Barack Obama’s distinctive “American Dream” motto.

3.3 Xi’s central policies and achievements

Under his administration, Xi Jinping carried out a series of central policies in relation with the “comprehensive deepening reforms” he projected for the Chinese political system, economy and society.

According to the Chinese Government, by the end of 2016, a total of 336 reforms were proposed in 60 fields.[107] They are part of the China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, introduced in 2015 and including a total of 32 comprehensive ‘proposals’ for the common good of the nation.

Economic and social policies

In the economic realm, Xi reassured the key role of the “market forces” and the integration of China in the globalized world for the developing of the Chinese economy. The State continued to gradually reduce its involvement in the distribution of the capital, in favor of the private sector. Since the beginning of term in power, Xi has proclaimed in several opportunities that reform and opening is an “ongoing process that will never end”.[108]

On the other hand, China entered a new economic phase, denominated ‘new normal’. The growth rate slowed down significantly from 2014, dropping to around 7%, after several decades of record rates over 10% every year.[109] The aim of this policy was to make possible a reconstruction and rebalancing of the economy, more towards internal consumer spending and technological innovation, taking advantage of “strategic opportunities”.[110] This transition is probably the most important global economic event of the past 30 years.[111]

During the last summit of the World Economic Forum summit, Xi has defined the ‘new normal’ as an economic phase “in which major changes are taking place in terms of growth rate, development model, economic structure and drivers of growth, but the economic fundamentals sustaining sound development remain unchanged”.[112]

The new economic phase under Xi’s leadership has had strategic targets in terms of public investment, as well as: Green development, poverty relief, innovation, science and technology and an ambitious territorial plan for the most under-developed regions of the country. As one of the most significant achievement since Xi came into power, more than 100 million people were lifted out from poverty (700 million since 1978) and China expects to eradicate poverty by 2020.[113]

The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative[114]

Maybe the more characteristic and relevant policy of Xi’s administration is the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. It was unveiled in September 2013 and focuses on connectivity and cooperation in several fields among countries primarily between the PRC and the rest of Eurasia, but also involves South East Asia countries and part of Africa.

The OBOR initiative consists of two main components, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and the oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR). The projected investment for OBOR will be US$1.4 trillion, about 12 times larger than the United States’ Marshall Plan, which was about US$120 billion,aiming to rebuild Europe after the World War II.As Xi announced in the last World Economic Forum summit, “Chinese companies have already made over US$50 billion of investment and launched a number of major projects in the countries along the OBOR routes”.[115]

Anti-corruption campaign

Almost immediately after he ascended to power, Xi launched an unprecedented large-scale anti-corruption campaign, aiming to crack down corruption at all levels of the Chinese administration (“tigers and flies”, was his memorable metaphor on this issue).[116] Xi outlined an ‘eight-point guide’, listing out rules intended to curb corruption by eliminating special privileges and imposing a very strict discipline on the conduct of officials, in order to strengthen the party’s legitimacy in front of the Chinese society.

In 2014, the ‘Sky Net’ initiative was launched, allowing bringing back to China more 2,400 fugitives from abroad and 8.5 billion RMB were recovered.[117] The same year, Bo Xilai, former party secretary of Chongqing, was convicted of corruption and sentenced to life in prison. His wife, Gu Kailai, was implicated in the murder of British businessman. The case had a lot of political and media repercussion, as Bo Xilai was a very high ranked official and son of Bo Yibo (1908–2007), one of the ‘Eight Immortals’ of the CPC and comrade of Xi Jinping’s father.[118]

By the end of 2016, more than one million offenders had been punished for graft: 222 centrally administered officials had been investigated, with 212 receiving disciplinary punishment.[119]

The role of the Communist Party

Xi reaffirmed the supremacy of the CPC in China’s political system. He many times resembled Deng Xiaoping’s line that effective and sustainable economic reform can only take place within the one-party political framework. “Governing a big country is as delicate as frying a small fish”, he affirmed, in 2013.[120]

According to Xi’s view, the CPC is the legitimate, constitutionally-sanctioned ruling party of China. Likewise, the party derives its legitimacy through advancing the so-called “mass line”, meaning that the party represents the interests of the overwhelming majority of ordinary people. Under Xi’s leadership, there has been a remarkable centralization of the political power, in favor of the CPC.

Legal reforms

In 2013, Xi called for the developing of a “Law-based country, Government and society”.[121] One year later, he proclaimed the establishment of a “Chinese socialistic rule of law”. The aim was to reform the legal system which had been perceived as ineffective at delivering justice and affected by corruption, local government interference, and lack of constitutional oversight.

Xi called for a greater role of the constitution on the affairs of State, and a strengthening of the role of the National People's Congress Standing Committee in interpreting the constitution.[122]Xi also asked for more transparency in legal proceedings, more involvement of ordinary citizens in the legislative process, and an overall professionalization of the legal workforce.

The party also planned to institute cross-jurisdictional circuit legal tribunals as well as giving provinces consolidated administrative oversight over lower level legal resources, which is intended to have the effect of reducing local government involvement in legal proceedings.[123]

End of the One-child policy

In October 2015, the CPC leadership ended the One-child policy, announcing that all married couples would be allowed to have two children from January 2016.China's second-child policy pushed the fertility rate up to more than 1.7 last year, an increase from between 1.5 and 1.6 between 2000 and 2015. More than 18.4 million babies were born in China in 2016, 2 million more than the annual number for the previous five years, and highest number since 2000.[124]

3.4 Defense and foreign affairs approach

The defense and foreign affairs realms have been one of the big changes when comparing Xi Jinping with his immediate predecessor, Hu Jintao. According to preeminent analysts, Xi has abandoned the low profile that characterized Hu’s period, definitely taking a hard line on defense and security issues as well as foreign affairs, projecting a more nationalistic and assertive China on the world stage.[125]

David Wolff, public relations strategist and China’s affairs expert, comments on this: “Chinese foreign policy has shifted from a principle of tao guang yang hui (roughly, ‘keep a low profile and bide your time’) initiated in the era of Deng Xiaoping, to one of active engagement and power projection under Xi Jinping. In recent years, China has been much more active in the international arena”.[126]

The East and South China Sea have been the main theaters of Xi’s defense and external affairs new approach before the world. The area has become a core interest for the CPC and, under Xi’s leadership, China increased its assertiveness and military expansion in the area, in order to secure its sovereignty over several disputed islands and shoals.[127]

At the same time, this situation increased the existing tensions with the United States and its key allies in the region: Japan and South Korea. After Donald Trump’s presidential consecration, the tensions between China and the US got worse over economic and international security matters, although a good level of dialogue and cooperation was recently established due to the North Korea’s crisis.

With Russia, Xi has cultivated stronger relations, particularly after the wake of the Ukraine crisis of 2014. In the context of the war in Syria and the position regarding the role of Iran in the Middle East, China has aligned with Vladimir Putin’s strategies and positions in the international organizations and forums.[128]

Under Xi, China has also taken a more critical stance on its traditional allied North Korea, condemning the subsequent nuclear tests of Kim Jong-un regime, in alignment with United Nations resolutions. What’s more, after a nuclear test produced in last February, China decided to suspend all coal imports from North Korea for the present year, generating common ground with the US.[129] At the same time, China has harshly criticized Trump’s decision to deploy an advanced and contentious missile defense system (THAAD) in South Korea.[130]

The new role of China for the economic globalization and global governance

Despite the many tensions rising in the neighborhood and Xi’s increasing assertiveness, China has reaffirmed its commitment with the building of a peaceful and multipolar world order. Particularly, China has been doing so by expanding the multilateral cooperation and strengthening its leading role in the United Nations, the G20, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, among others multilateral groups.

In that sense, Xi addressed a remarkable speech in favor of the economic globalization during the last summit of the World Economic Forum celebrated in Davos, in January 2017. It was of great symbolic significance and very much welcomed by top world political and economic leaders.

“No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war,” Xi told to delighted elites from the world of business and finance.“Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one’s self in a dark room: wind and rain might be kept outside but so are light and air”, said, in obvious reference to Trump’s controversial stance on international commerce.[131]

In front of the wave of uncertainty generated by Trump’s arrival to power in the US, Xi presented China and its model as the new world champion to safeguard the economic globalization. Paradoxically, this happened in the same context that China’s WTO membership remains being contested by the United States and most of the Western developed countries.

During a press conference on the sidelines of the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress, celebrated last March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave a political frame to Xi’s position at the WEC: “China will continue to be an anchor of international stability, an engine of global growth, a champion of peace and development and a contributor to global governance”, he noted.[132]

 

CHAPTER IV

THE RELATIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND LATIN AMERICA SINCE XI JINPING CAME INTO POWER

This chapter provides a general analysis on the evolution of the relations between China and Latin America since Xi Jinping’s came into power. The focus is on the place of LAC in Xi’s global strategy and its economic and geopolitical implications. Three main debates regarding the future of the relations are addressed: LAC in front of China’s ‘new normal’ economic phase, the new political context in LAC and the ‘triangle’ of relations between China, LAC and the United States.

4.1 Xi’s strategy on Latin America and the evolution of therelations

Xi Jinping definitely decided to deepen and expand the Chinese presence and cooperation with LAC, with a renewed strategic vision. Since he came into power, new big steps have been reached to boost the political and economic relations, following the path laid out for his predecessors.

According to many scholars, besides the economic interests there are transcendental geopolitical reasons behind the increasing Chinese attention on Latin America.

Geopolitical aspects of China’s rise in Latin America

Wu Baiyi, Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy Social Sciences, considers a series of factors to explain the new place of LAC in the framework of what he calls “China’s major-power diplomacy”:[133]

-         “First, China has begun to champion a new type of international relations based on ‘win-win cooperation’ while concurrently making efforts to expand common interests with other countries to build a community of shared outcome…”

-         “Second, China’s embrace of a global network of partners finds expression in its all-inclusive diplomacy. China desires a global partnership based on equality. In Beijing’s view, countries – large and small, rich and poor – should respect each other’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well as development path and values. China desires a peaceful global partnership…”

-         “Third, guided by the twin concepts of ‘inclusive growth’ and ‘sustainable development’, China is spearheading a ‘new normal’ of the global economy and providing more public goods to the world. It is honoring its commitment of ‘sincerity, concrete results, affinity and good faith’ in relation to other developing countries, which are reaping real benefits from interacting with China...”

-         “Fourth, China is operationalizing its vision for relations with the United States characterized by avoiding conflict and confrontation, mutual respect and ‘win-win’ cooperation. Beijing has made clear its readiness to work with Washington at the regional and global level and undertake international responsibilities befitting its national condition and strength. The idea is to combine each other’s strengths to provide more public goods to the world”.

Shaheli Das, Indian researcher from the Center for East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, goes further into the geopolitical aspects of this matter: “China’s interest toward LAC and the Caribbean is profoundly influenced by its broader policy concerns”.[134]

He provides the following arguments: “For several decades, China has aspired to perform a leading role in the developing world and had adopted an approach to act independently in its ties with the developed world on behalf of the developing nations. As China moves away from the idea of ‘Third World-ism’ toward that of multilateralism, the country is making an endeavor to strengthen its global network of alliances within the prism of South-South cooperation. Consequently, China has ventured into amplifying its strategic synergy with Latin American nations”.[135]

For Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow in the ‘Project on International Order and Strategy and LAC Initiative’ in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution, is also evident the geopolitical facet of China’s engagement with LAC: “Beyond its direct and indirect impact on the region’s economic and governance trajectories, China’s economic statecraft also contains its own geopolitical ambitions. This should come as no surprise. The 32 states of LAC and the Caribbean offer a number of opportunities for improving the general climate for China’s ‘harmonious rise’ on the world scene”.[136]

Xi’s first big steps towards Latin America

In June 2013, Xi Jinping did his first official trip to LAC. He visited Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico and signed important agreements with his counterparts in each country. In Mexico, he called for a “joint effort to increase international trade, which would be beneficial for the world”. This was followed by historic announcements on investment and the Chinese compromise to help reduce the commercial deficit, highly favorable to China.[137]

In January 2014, the China-CELAC Forum was created in La Habana, Cuba. It was a milestone in Latin American foreign relations, as it was the first time that the countries of the region acted coordinated as a bloc in front of an important extra-regional partner.[138] The United States failed in its many initiatives to achieve so, especially when tried to create the Free Trade Area of the Americas (ALCA, for its initials in Spanish), dismissed in 2005 due to general rejection in the region.

In July 2014, Xi came back to LAC. In this occasion he visited Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. The opportunity for the tour was occasioned by Xi’s attendance at the Sixth Leader’s Meeting of the BRICS group, celebrated in Fortaleza (Brazil). Also, Xi attended to the first CELAC forum hosted in Brasilia.[139]

During this trip, Xi gave three major speeches, assisted to more than seventy bilateral and multilateral events and met with more than twenty heads of State. Moreover, more than 150 contracts and framework agreements were signed, covering areas such as energy, mining and agriculture.[140]

According to Michael Swaine, Senior Fellow of the Asia Program of Carnegie Endowment, “Xi’s event-packed 2014 tour of four major Latin American nations marked the intensification of Beijing’s relationship with a region that has become increasingly important in overall Chinese foreign policy and development strategy”.[141]

An official document of the Chinese Government, considered that 2014 was a fruitful year for the ties with LAC. “Relations continued to grow deeper and major progress was made in cooperation in all areas. China and Latin America witnessed further progress on major projects ranging from energy and resources, infrastructure, finance, agriculture to science and technology. China-Latin America military exchanges and law enforcement cooperation were also steadily enhanced”.[142]

China’s new strategy for LAC: “Cooperation 1+3+6”

In January 2015, at the meeting of the China-CELAC Forum celebrated in Beijing, China introduced an ambitious and comprehensive plan to expand the cooperation with LAC in several fields, not only economics. The plan had been previously referred by Xi during hisState visit to Brazil, in July 2014.The first “Five-Year Plan of Action for Latin America” for the period 2015-2019, also referred to as “1+3+6 framework”, included the following aspects:[143]

-         One comprehensive Program, as a road map for China-LAC relations, that was signed for all the CELAC members.

-         Three Engines: Trade-Investment-Finance. In trade, China proposed the goal to raise bilateral trade to US$ 500 billion (US$ 262.2 billion by 2015) in 10 years, and direct investment stock to US$ 250 billion (US$ 86 billion by 2015).

-         Six Areas: Energy and Natural Resources; Infrastructure; Agriculture; Manufacturing; Scientific Innovation and Technology; Information Technology.

To this end, China committed to implement a Special Infrastructure Fund of US$ 10 billion, extendable to US$ 20 billion. Also, China would facilitate a US$ 5 billion China-Latin American Cooperation Fund for Cooperation in energy and resources, agriculture, manufacturing, high technology and sustainable development. In agriculture, a special fund of US$ 50 million was presented.

Moreover, China presented a Program of Scientific Association of Technology, a Program of Exchanges between Young Scientists, and announced the organization of the First Forum of China-LAC Technological Scientific Innovation.

Since its creation, the China-CELAC forum has also organized talks among young politicians, infrastructure developers, and regional government officials from China and LAC. New opportunities for facilitating academic exchange have also emerged. The Community of Chinese and Latin American Studies (CECLA), a private organization based in Beijing, was founded in 2015 to promote dialogue among young researchers and academics in Latin American studies. Its members consist of Chinese and Latin American scholars, entrepreneurs, students, and cultural activists. China has also established a fund for youth exchange.[144]

Li Keqiang’s 2015 trip to Latin America and the “3x3” model

In May 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang did his first trip to LAC. He visited Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile. Regarding the visit to Brazil, China’s biggest partner in LAC, Dussel Petershighlights that “it reflects the recent and rapidly deepening ties. The two leaders signed thirty-five agreements worth up to US$50 billion in potential new Chinese FDI in areas such as agriculture, aeronautics, automobiles, infrastructure, energy, and mining”.[145]

During his Brazil’s visit, Li proposed a “3x3” model for China-LAC production capacity cooperation: The first “3” refers to cooperation in building three arteries for LAC in the fields of logistics, power and information; the second “3” refers to sound interaction among businesses, society and the government; the third “3” refers to the expansion of the three financing channels of funds, credit and insurance.[146]

In this Li Keqiang’s trip, maybe the most ambitious Chinese proposal for the region was made: The creation of an interoceanic railroad from Brazil to Peru. The newly proposed railway would extend from Brazil’s Port of Santos on the Atlantic Ocean to Peru’s Port of Ilo on the Pacific Ocean, totaling around 3,500 kilometers. “For China, the railway could be a key demonstration of its prowess in infrastructure, technology, and financing”, says Dussel Peters.[147]Plans for the so-called “Trans-Amazonian” highways and projects have been developed since the 1970s, with little success. Altogether with the monumental Nicaraguan Canal project, these are the biggest Chinese initiatives for LAC.

Institutions such as the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have pledged financing in Brazil, together with Caixa Económica, for a total of $50 billion during 2015-21. But the current political and economic crisis undergoing in Brazil has delayed realization of this huge project.

The other big announcement during Li’s trip to LAC was during his visit to Chile. A currency-exchange agreement was signed, turning Santiago into the first Latin American capital to have a compensation reserve in RMB. China conceded an initial amount of RMB 50.000 million. In Colombia, in turn, both Governments agreed to start to explore the possibility to reach a FTA.[148]

After this trip, alongwith Xi’s two previous trips, it became clear the Chinese intention to transcend the exclusive commercial relations and jump to a higher level of cooperation involving new areas such infrastructure, mining, energy, agriculture and telecommunications, among others.[149]

Xi’s third trip to Latin America, focused on the Pacific

2016 was a year of further deepening in the comprehensive cooperation between China and LAC. Xi did his third trip to the region, in November. He traveled to Chile, Ecuador and Peru, where he assisted to a Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit celebrated in Lima. The event brought together leaders from 21 Pacific Rim economies, including US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The summit was just a few days after Donald Trump’s presidential consecration in the US and Xi clearly pointed his speech in that direction, standing up for the strengthen of economic globalization: “We need to actively guide fair, inclusive and resilient globalization, we should build up an equal and universally beneficial framework agreement, as isolation and exclusiveness are wrong”, he said.

Xi also insisted in the Chinese proposal to create a free trade zone for the Pacific nations, after Trump’s decision to withdraw from the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the milestones of Barack Obama’s foreign policy.The Pacific Alliance, a rising free-trading group that was formed in 2011 and comprises Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, welcomed Xi’s proposal. In contrast, Brazil and Argentina, the leading Mercosur countries, have showed more prudence and distance in this respect.[150]

During the trip, Xi also stressed that Chinese expansion in LAC will continue to be devoid of political alignments: “China will continue to provide economic and technical assistance to Latin American and Caribbean countries without attaching any political conditions”, he declared.[151]

In each stop of his trip, Xi made important announcements related to political and economic cooperation. In Ecuador, the focus was in the financial support provided by China for the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant,the largest hydroelectric plant ever constructed in the country. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa expressed to Xi his “eternal gratitude” to China.[152]

In a speech to Peru’s Congress, Xi also said that China will enhance technology transfers to Latin American countries and boost human resource cooperation with the region. With Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Xi agreed to work more closely on areas like energy, trade, minerals, finance, industrial parks and infrastructure.

Kuczynski mentioned that Peru would like to see joint efforts to upgrade the nations’ bilateral FTA. China has been a key importer of minerals and a major investor in the mining industry of Peru. In 2014, 58 percent of Peru’s copper, 48 percent of its gold, and 29 percent of its zinc were exported to China.[153] Moreover, last March Peru was admitted as one of 13 new members of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

In Chile, Xi and his counterpart Michele Bachelet agreed to begin negotiations on deepening theFTAbetween both nations. Other 11 cooperative documents were signed to enhance cooperation in areas including astronomy, finance, education, agriculture and trade. “An upgrade of the FTA between Chile and China will give two-way economic and trade cooperation a strong boost”, said Bachelet, during Xi’s visit.[154]

New policy paper for Latin America[155]

Following Xi’s 2016 momentous tour for LAC, the Government of the PRC released a new policy paper on LAC and the Caribbean. It was the second framework document for the region, after its previously commented antecedent of 2008.

In its preface, the new paper mentions the intention to “forge a community of shared future” with LAC. The region is defined as a “land full of vitality and hope”, which China assigns “a major role in safeguarding world peace and development”.

Much more concrete and exhaustive than the 2008 edition, the new white paper highlights the “huge development potentials and bright prospects” of LAC. This is in the context of a new global context which, according to China, is marked by the “changes in the external environment triggered by the global financial crisis".

China proposes to bring the relations with LAC to a “new stage of comprehensive cooperation”. The document ratifies a series of shared values and principles, as well as postulates deepening the collaboration in several areas:

-         Political field: China promotes an increase in the exchanges at the highest political level, in terms of bilateral relations with LAC governments, governance experiences, bilateral dialogue, consultation mechanisms and linkages between political parties, among other issues.

-         Economic field: Because of its extension and depth of content, this seems to be the central issue. The document highlights 13 phases of economic cooperation between China and LAC. These include: Trade, industrial investment, finance, energy, natural resources, technology, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, science, technology, maritime and space cooperation.

-         Social aspects: In this realm, China promotes working together in “strengthening and innovating social governance”. To this end, it proposes to LAC countries increase the cooperation and exchange of experience in social development, health, poverty reduction, ecosystem protection, river-lake management and natural disasters reduction and relief.

-         Cultural and people-to-people fields: This aspect also has a broad approach in the document. For China, cultural promotion has become a key tool in terms of expanding its ‘soft power’. The possibility of increasing cultural and sports exchanges and cooperation is stressed; as well as deepening the links in education, training of human resources, think tanks, press, radio, film, television, and tourism.

-         International collaboration: China looks forward to have a greater influence on the global economic governance, reinforcing its participation in the most important international forums. In that sense, the countries of LAC are presented as natural allies. The paper addresses three other issues related to international coordination that are vital for China: Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, response to climate change and cyber security.

-         Peace, security and judicial affairs: It is another field of great interest to China, which will seek to expand its agreements with LAC countries in the next few years regarding military, judicial and police affairs cooperation. LAC countries could be greatly benefited, thus enhancing their resources to fight against drug trafficking, organized crime and other security scourges that affect the region’s peace and stability.

-         Collective and trilateral cooperation: Finally, China aims to expand its participation in the framework of the agreements reached with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as encourages its enterprises to carry out trilateral cooperation in economic, social and cultural fields.

In light of the new policy paper it is evident the intention of China to continue expanding its presence and ties with the countries of LAC. Shaheli Das considers thatin this new policy paper “a clear declaration has been made that China seeks to cooperate with the region’s states on matters of social and economic governance at various multilateral forums”.[156]

He Shuangrong, an expert of Latin American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, also has a positive opinion on the document. “It is significant in stabilizing the expectations of Latin American and Caribbean countries for developing relations with China and boosting their confidence”, he says.[157]

Rosendo Fraga, Argentine historian and Director of the Center of Studies “Nueva Mayoría”, provides a comprehensive analysis on this issue: “China’s policy towards Latin America from 2012, with the coming to power of Xi, it has not meant a change from the previous, but its deepening. China is attentive to global changes and acts accordingly. The first policy paper for the region was presented immediately after the global financial crisis precipitated by the US financial market in 2008 and the second in 2016, immediately after Trump’s triumph. These are times of crisis, in which China has seen the opportunity to deepen its relations in Latin America”.[158]

Time will tell if this new policy paper achieves a bigger impact and a higher level of concretization than its precedent of 2008.

4.2 Latin America in front of China’s ‘new normal’ economic phase

During the Xi’s period, China’s economic ties with LAC in terms of trade, financing and investment kept on growing. However, according to recent statistics, the ‘China boom’ in LAC seems to be cooling in some economic areas, marked by China’s new normal economic phase.

The current relation in terms of trade, finance and FDI[159]

In 2013, the total volume of Chinese-Latin American trade was 24 times larger than it was in 2000.[160] By 2016, China was consolidated as the top destination of exports from Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay; as well as the second destination for Argentina and Venezuela, and third for Mexico and Colombia. Furthermore, 17 Latin American countries reached not less than US$ 1.000 millions in commercial exchanges with China, in 2014.[161]

Latin America’s exports to China remained nearly unchanged from 2015 and 2014, at US$103 billion. But Latin America’s imports from China fell by 14% to US$113 billion, shrinking the trade deficitwith China. However, China’s importance to LAC continues to soar in one sector: extractiveindustries. China has maintained its presence in Latin America’s extractive sectors, despite theslump in minerals prices, while other countries like the US have pulled back.[162]

On the other hand, China has significantly increased its loans to Latin American countries. In 2015, China Development Bank and China Exim Bank offered a total of US$ 29.1 billion in loans to LAC, compared to the US$4.8 billion offered in 2007. In that sense, China has become a crucial financer for Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina. Venezuela alone accounted for more than 50 percent of total loans and 42 percent of infrastructure projects in the region.[163]

Chinese public-sector lending in LAC fell in 2016, from US$27.2 to US$ 22.4 billion. However, lending for coal, oil, and natural gas rose dramatically, to a record-setting US$17.2 billion. This categoryincludes just a few large loans, all from the China Development Bank: a total of $15.0 billion toBrazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras, and $2.2 billion to Venezuelan state-owned oilcompany PDVSA.[164]

With respect to FDI, in 2016, Chinese companies invested $3.3 billion in new (greenfield) FDI in LAC, down from $4.8billion in 2015. However, Chinese companies spent a much larger amount on mergers andacquisitions (M&As) in the region: $12.4 billion, more than twice 2015’s figure of $5.1 billion.[165]

“If these initial steps toward diversification materialize, it may signal China’s willingness to collaborate with LAC on a new approach to the region’s longstanding goal of industrialization”, consider Rebecca Ray and Kevin Gallagher.[166]

“No Latin American country is among China’s top 10 investment destinations. Still, what Chinahas already invested in LAC and theCaribbean is significantand the stock is certainto grow substantially in the next few years”, predicts on this matter David Dollar, Senior Fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution.[167]

In terms of economic growth, Latin American economies contracted for the second year in a row in 2016 and are projected to grow by just over one percent in 2017. Deep political and economic crisis in Brazil and Venezuela have played a key role in this field. What is more, the international private sector is retreating from the region at an alarming rate, with net capital flows to LAC negative for the first time since the 1998 recession.[168]

Anxieties about the future

Chinese and Latin American officials and scholars agree that the new era in the relations with LAC must be understood in the context of the end of the commodity boom. The prices of the commodities that LAC export have dropped significantly during the last five years. Depending on the commodity, the boom has been over for at least two (oil) or three (iron ore) years or even longer (copper).

What is worse, driven by this boom, the regional economies have undergone a process of ‘re-primarization’, becoming highly dependent on raw materials exports. Such are the cases of Argentina (soy beans), Brazil (iron ore) and Venezuela (oil).

As Kevin Gallagher remarks: “Latin Americans have not capitalized the ‘China boom’ in many ways. As the infamous ‘resource curse’ predicts, during commodity booms money pours into the commodity sector. Commodity windfalls for the commodity sector, but few jobs. What is more, it causes the exchange rate of countries to appreciate, making non-commodity exports more expensive”.[169]

However, high levels of corruption and macroeconomic mismanagement due to short-term populist policies seems to be in the origin of the current crises in Latin American countries. In other words: Why countries like Norway were so successful in dealing with the so-called ‘resource curse’ during the last decade?

Among other reasons, the commodities super-prices period is over because China entered a new economic phase denominated ‘new normal’, switching toward a model of internal consumption and slower development, as it was previously commented in Chapter III.

“On the South American side, the boom itself certainly increased anxieties about a return to historical patterns of commodity dependency and increased environmental stresses”, analyses Matt Ferchen, associate professor in the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University.[170]

“Infrastructure and extractive industries will almost certainly continue to be at the heart of China-LAC relations and are a perfect starting point for a reinvigorated discussion with China about what would constitute a more economically and environmentally sustainable relationship”, he adds.[171]

Ronn Pinneo, Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, agrees in that sense: “Latin America is re-becoming a raw material exporter to the world, and the reason is China. In the late 1990s only about one-quarter of Latin America’s total exports were of primary products. Today nearly half of the region’s exports are of primary goods”.[172]

“With this transition of the Chinese economy has come slower growth and slower demand for Latin American commodities. LAC has become so exposed to China that the China slowdown is among the strongest factors that will make LAC return to the lower growth rates of yesteryear”, observes Kevin Gallagher.[173]

China’s proposal: Expansion of trade and new areas of cooperation

During his several trips to the region, Xi emphasized that commercial relations should increasingly involve the expansion of trade beyond raw materials, exploring new areas of cooperation. Such proposalshave centered on greater Chinese investment and financing in Latin American infrastructure and manufacturing. However, from the Latin American side doubts persist about if this new phase will favor their own development and interests, in a post-commodity boom environment.

Andrew Sheng, Senior Adviser to the China Banking Regulatory Commission, says that China’s ‘new normal’ doesn’t mean that the virtuous commodities cycle has come to an end for LAC. “There will be just changes in the commercial exchange mix. Probably, the commodity demand from China will consolidate at some point at the same time LAC will receive more Chinese tourists and more Chinese investments, not necessarily related to raw materials, but in areas where LAC offers comparative advantages”, explains.[174]

Tang Jun, Deputy Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Zhejiang University of International Studies, is not so optimistic. He anticipates that “China’s economic slowdown will continue deepening” and warns on the “serious imbalance in the commerce between China and Latin America in terms of country’s production structures and products”.[175] In this respect, he points: “Some adjustments will have to be done in the economic and commercial bilateral relations. That will be mutually beneficial but at the same time imply mutual responsibilities and commitments”.[176]

For their part, Brazilian experts Mauricio Mesquita Moreira and André Soares have conducted a very thoughtful research on this subject, for the Inter-American Development Bank. “With a per capita GDP of US$ 7.600, China is still far from having the low profitability rates characteristic of developed countries as well as such levels of participation in the services sector. Moreover, Chinese raw materials restrictions will remain and the demand from LAC will continue to be strong, though maybe not exceptional like in the past decade”.[177] In this context, they conclude that commercial policies are to become more relevant in the economic relations, “in order to ease trade barriers”.[178]

Can it be a “win-win” relation?

Maybe the biggest question about the future of the economic relations under China’s ‘new normal’ phase is: can it be a ‘win-win’ relation? As it was mentioned before, this question was already there during the ‘commodity boom’ period. Now, it resounds more than ever in the Latin American political and academic circles.

From the Chinese side, Zhu Qingqiao, General Director of the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs of the Government of the PRC, has an optimistic viewpoint. “China and Latin American countries have strengthened their political mutual trust and we have developed more smooth channels for dialogue. We have a shared dream and common pursuit on the paths of development, enjoying a great potential for deepening cooperation”, he affirms.[179]

Argentine economist and researcher specialized in Asian affairs, Gustavo Girado, also considers that establishing “win-win” cooperation relations with China “is perfectly feasible for Latin American countries, as indeed has happened and continues to happen”. “In an increasingly interdependent world, given the changes in multilateral relationships schemes, as well as in the way global goods and services are produced (which is subsumed in global value chains), there is no justification for not having relations with China”, he explains.[180]

For his part, Ted Piccone evaluates China’s “win-win” approach as follows: “Given the choice between the onerousconditions of theneoliberal Washingtonconsensus and theno-strings-attachedlargesse of the Chinese,elevating relationswith Beijing was a no-brainer”.[181] In that respect, he stresses the cases of some countries in the region, like Brazil, that “took advantage of China’s demandfor its commodities to spectacular economic and social effects”.[182]

From a more critical perspective, Dussel Peters considers that “growing trade, investment, and financing ties need a long-term development agenda that pivots away from Latin America’s export of raw materials, the current trade relationship is not advancing regional economic development”.[183]

And he emphasizes the obstacle that represents the institutional deficit from the Latin American side: “Yet while China is systematically and clearly illustrating its strategy toward Latin America, the region lacks the investment and commitment to develop its own understanding of China’s political system, trade, investment, and education initiatives. This makes bilateral understanding difficult. As a result, the errors of Chinese investments, the performance of terms of trade, and other elements of the relationship, often accumulate, with little deliberative response. This needs to change”.[184]

Latin American countries need to act in a more coordinated way

To conclude this topic, it seems clear that there are huge opportunities but also important challenges in what is a naturally an asymmetric relation, that will continue being so.[185] In that sense, some Latin American countries have managed better than others to take advantage of the favorable situation during the ‘commodity boom’.

Looking to the future, the scenario for Latin American countries will be more complex due to China’s ‘new normal’ economic phase, as well for other factors. The main challenge for the Latin American countries is to act in a more coordinated way, in order to consolidate a regional position in front of China.

That would be fundamental to maximize the advantages and possibilities, that remain intact, especially regarding new fields of cooperation, such as technology and innovation.

Broadly speaking, this has so far not been achieved. Today, there seem to be as many strategies for relating to China as there are countries in the region. What is worse, some countries have not even shown a strategy yet.

4.3 The new political context in Latin America

The leftist political wave that ruled large part of the region for more than a decade and certainly favored the Chinese expansion in LAC –especially during Hu Jintao’s period-, came to an end. In most of the cases, these Latin American leaders delivered the power amid scandals of corruption and mismanagement. In general, they squandered the golden era of the ‘commodity boom’ and left a deplorable balance in terms of economic development and social inclusion.

What is worse, some of these leaders, like Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro, still remains in power having swept away the democratic ruling while conducting the country to an unprecedented economic and social crisis of horrendous proportions.[186] In Brazil, Dilma Rousseff was removed from power last year, impeached by the Congress for allegedly having window-dressed government accounts ahead of the last presidential election. She was replaced by her Vice-President, Michel Temer, who promoted the impeachment and switched toward center-right and pro-trade policies.[187]

In Argentina, the official party led by former President Cristina Kirchner lost the 2015 election in front of center-right candidate Mauricio Macri and now she is being investigated by the Justice in several corruption cases, as well as some members of her cabinet.[188]

Center-right, pro-trade governments have also been elected in LAC, since 2012, in important countries like Mexico (Enrique Peña Nieto), Colombia (Juan Manuel Santos), Paraguay (Horacio Cartes) and Peru (Pedro Kuczynski). And this new wave could soon reach Chile, according to the projections of next November presidential election.[189] In South America, for the foreseeable future, leftist parties would only remain in power in small countries like Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay.

Less favorable to China?

Bearing all this in mind, the following question raises: Is this context necessary less favorable to China? In theory, from an ideological perspective, the political change should mean a less friendly approach with China. But, in fact, ideology has not been playing a relevant role with the new political alignments in the region.

Somehow or other, pragmatism is becoming the leading ideology for the new center-right governments in LAC. In that sense, newcomers like Macri and Kuczynski have been working since they took office in deepening the cooperation with China, despites some controversies. What they have harshly criticized and review is not the relation itself with China -as many critics expected they would do-, but the irregularities in the way their predecessors managed them.[190]

“Despite the political changes that have taken place, the Latin American countries, including those with center-right governments, are still interested in strengthening trade and investment ties with China. The new administrations in Argentina and Peru both expressed commitments to maintaining strong ties with Beijing, and additionally, the peace deal in Colombia will offer new business opportunities for Chinese companies”, comments Sam Wang.[191]

According to Ted Piccone, the political changes represent a challenge for China: “The recentpolitical trends in the region toward centrist governments, combined withthe crisis faced by China’s most important partner in the region, Venezuela,present an important test for what otherwise appears to be a durablegeopolitical marriage of convenience built around traditional concepts ofnoninterference in internal affairs and balancing of the West”.

The Chinese viewpoint

From the Chinese side, Foreign Minister Wang Yi has acknowledged the changes in Latin America’s political landscape, but has stressed that “China’s policy of enhancing cooperation with Latin American countries remains unchanged”.[192]

Zhang Fan, international relations researcher at the Latin America Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that diplomatic divisions are deepening in the region. And he brings up the significant Cuba’s case: “Cuba-US re-establishing diplomatic ties and US policy adjustments towards Latin America’s left-leaning governments are strong signs of the continuing influence of extra-regional factors in the region”.[193]

“The left-turn cycle in Latin America is coming to an end”, acknowledges for his part He Shuangrong. “The pillars of the Latin American left, Venezuela and Brazil, are facing great crises from within, hence the left in the region is now headless”, he notes. Meanwhile, Wu Baiyi takes a longer view of these “inherently cyclical electoral processes” and says that “the popular base of the left in LAC is essentially intact”.“If the right-wing governments cannot find a path out of the economic downturn, the Latin American left will very possibly rise again”, Wu predicts.[194]

4.4The ‘triangle’ between China, Latin America and the United States

Another strategic aspect of the current state and perspectives of the relation between China and Latina America is the role of the United States in the region. There has been a clear retreat of the US from the region in terms of political and economic influence in the last years. This has triggered a debate about the possible consolidation of a new ‘triangle’ in LAC, presumably dominated by China, the emerging superpower of the 21st Century.

China into the former “US backyard”

As it was noted in the introductory chapter, LAC used to be considered the “backyard” of the United States. This was a result of the Monroe Doctrine, a US foreign policy principle introduced in 1823 and meant to protect the independence of the countries from the Americas and secure the sphere of influence of the US in the region. Within this framework, any European interference in domestic politics of the region would have been considered an act of aggression to the US.[195]

After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States’ interest in LAC started do decrease significantly. The successive US administrations during the last 15 years shifted their focus and biggest military and economic efforts to the Middle East and other regions of the world that became more strategic and vital for the US national interests. The US diplomatic attention and investment flows in LAC have notably diminished at the same time China has increased its presence and attention.

“The rise of China as a global power, its potential role as a customer, investor, and loan provider, and the simultaneous economic stagnation and fiscal difficulties of the US, leads many Latin American nations to view the United States as but one partner among many, and not necessarily the most attractive one”, explains Evan Ellis, American expert in Latin American affairs.[196]

Kevin Gallagher agrees with this opinion: “In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the after the global financial meltdown that originated in the United States, Washington turned to other shores. While the US wasn’t paying attention, Latin America quickly became of the utmost importance for China”.[197]

For his part, Shoujun Cui considers that “at the outset of the twenty-first century, Latin America was refocused within China’s scope of interests following its ‘going out’ strategy at the time when the hegemonic dominance of the United States in LAC went into decline as US foreign policy was dominated by the counterterrorism war primarily in the Middle East and, later on, the country entered into a persistent financial crisis”.[198]

And he continues: “These events, coupled with the US neglect towards Western Hemisphere during George W. Bush administrations and Barack Obama’s first term, played to the advantage of China, as LAC’s rich endowment of natural resources complemented its need to secure and diversify its energy and resources supply. In just a few years, China has gone from being a minor partner to becoming a central actor in the region’s foreign trade. There is no doubt that China has recognized the growing importance of its ties with LAC and the Caribbean”.[199]

The failure of the Washington Consensus policies must also be taken into account to explain de decline of the United States’ influence in LAC. The resulting crises paved the way for the wave of left-leaning governments with negative attitude towards the US that were elected in the region during the 2000s. “Left-leaning parties ascended to power in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Uruguay; many were largely anti-American in their approach”, recounts Shaheli Das.[200]

In November 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that the Monroe Doctrine was officially over and that the US was trying to find new cooperation patterns with LAC.[201]

Over this period of US retreat from LAC, China has kept his cautious way to interact with the region, devoid of any ideological or political connotations. Until the 2008 policy paper, China hadn’t exposed a unified strategy for LAC and had focused on promoting comprehensive and strategic economic partnerships or FTA, via bilateral agreements. Likewise, as it was mentioned in Chapter II, China increased notably its participation in multilateral regional organizations, promoting a cooperative and non-confrontational relation with the US in the political and economic realms.

Understanding the ‘China triangle’

Scholars have long written about a triangular relation between China, LAC and the United States. This aspect has been largely debated, especially from the US side, where prevails a ‘zero-sum’ assessment on this issue. Many consider that any progress of China in LAC will be at the expenses of the US interests and assets in the region.

The first to refer about the triangular relationship was Argentine political scientist Juan Gabriel Tokatlián. “It is probable that Latin America may have the best chance in decades to establish a positive triangular relationship with two major powers. A new linkage - interconnecting China, the United States, and Latin America - has a greater potential for success than its predecessors”, he projected, in 2007.[202] One year later, American researcher Barbara Stallins amplified the use of the concept.[203]Since then, the term has been used in numerous significant academic works.

In one his several publications related to this topic, Kevin Gallagher affirms: “Any comprehensive strategy for inclusive and sustainable development for Latin America and its peoples will need to be constructive in terms of engagement with the two largest economies of the world, China and the United States. Latin America is increasingly strategic for China and will remain so for the United States”.[204]

Regarding the US new stance in the region, Gallagher says that “now is a perfect time for the United States to hit the reset button on foreign economic policy in LAC-and for LAC to do the same toward the United States”.[205]

He places financial cooperation as a field in which the US still has an important role to play in the region, nonetheless China’s increasing interest in that area. “While engaging with its newfound economic partner, LAC should not disengage with the United States”, he observes, considering trilateral cooperation not only possible but beneficial for all sides.[206]

Finally, Gallagher affirms that is up to Latin American countries to take advantage of this new scenario: “Unless there is a course correction in US policy, it looks like – for a little while at least – it will be up to Latin American governments themselves to carve out a more constructive relationship with a Chinese government that appears more than willing to fill the vacuum potentially left by the United States”[207]

Evan Ellis provides a divergent viewpoint on this issue. He argues that the ‘triangle’ concept is a simplification that brings difficulties and limitations for understanding the dynamics of China's increasing engagement with LAC[208].He points three flaws: “The triangle masks other important actors that must be considered in the dynamic, it incorrectly encourages a view of LAC as a unitary actor and, at its core, the triangle is a subtly neocolonialist way of approaching LAC and its external relations”.[209]

With respect to the relation between China and the US in LAC, Ellis considers that both superpowers have several realms to expand cooperation, like security and defense. But he warns that “if the global strategic competition between the United States and the PRC degenerates into a new geopolitical conflict, LAC will be one of the battlefields in which that competition plays out”.[210]

“Cautious collaboration with the PRC may be the best option that the United States has to positively impact the rules of the game in which the PRC presence in LAC and the broader emerging global competition between the United States and the PRC play out”, recommends Ellis to the US policy makers.[211]

For his part, Rosendo Fraga considers that“China assumes that LAC is a region of the world where the US influence will remain relevant, but in LAC it may even increase its presence, as it took place in Africa, where the Chinese influence today competes with the American and the European”.[212]

Cooperation between China and the US must prevail

To summarize this aspect, cooperation must prevail in the China-US relations regarding LAC. Both parts have much more to win than to lose collaborating in the region. As LAC seems to have lost strategic importance for the US, China’s increasing influence is definitely good news in order to fill that gap and provide, principally, the financial resources the region need to continue developing its poor infrastructure.

A more developed LAC will be probably become a more politically stable, secure and economically attractive destination for investment. That would be highly beneficial, not only for the US but for the entire world. Thus, ‘zero-sum’ viewpoints are, to say the least, very weak and pessimistic argumentations to analyze this dynamic. As brilliant strategist and former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, remarks: “Relations between China and the United States need not -and should not- become a zero-sum game”.[213]

 

CHAPTER V

THE CASE OF THE RELATIONS BETWEEN CHINA AND ARGENTINA

To conclude this research, a specific analysis of the Argentine case is provided, to serve as a concrete example of the dynamic of the Chinese engagement with Latin America, emphasizing Xi Jinping’s period and the perspectives of the bilateral relation.

5.1 Historical evolution of the relations

Argentina is one of the most relevant political and commercial partners for China in LAC.Since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1972, ties between China and Argentina have been increasing steadily over the past decades. In 2014, China upgradedthe bilateral relation with Argentina to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, inaugurating a new stage of cooperation.

First diplomatic contacts

First diplomatic contacts between China and Argentina date from the late Qing period. Argentine governments held conversations with the Imperial authorities and, later on, with the Republican leadership during Chiang Kai-shek’s period. But official diplomatic ties could not be established, given the political context.

According to Argentine journalist and economist Julio Sevares, “Argentina kept little relations with China during this period, due to several factors, such as: insignificant commercial exchanges, little Chinese population and close ties with Japan”.[214]In that sense, Argentina established diplomatic relations with Japan in 1904 and sold two warships in the context of its war against Russia.

In 1935, there was a first attempt to sign treaty of friendship and commerce, promoted from the Chinese side, as a prelude to a formal exchange of ambassadors. But again, Argentina chose to favor the relations with Japan.[215]

The situation changed with the World War II. After a period of neutrality, Argentina broke ties with Germany and Japan in 1944. One year later, Argentina nominated his first ambassador to China, which paved the way to the first friendship treaty between both countries, signed in 1947.[216]

After the Chinese Civil War and the establishment of the PRC, Argentina decided to move its diplomatic representation to Taiwan, where the Nationalists had retreated. The 1947 treaty would only be ratified in 1963, as new political authorities in Argentina showed interest in the increasing demand of cereals and other agricultural products from Mainland China.[217]

Normalization of the relations with the PRC

In 1972, during Agustín Lanusse’s military dictatorship, Argentina continued along the path laid for US President Richard Nixon and acknowledged the ‘One China Policy’, normalizing the diplomatic relations with the PRC. Immediately, Argentina supported the inclusion of China as member of the United Nations. On its part, China supported in that organization Argentina’s claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, its adjacent waters and other territories.[218] However, is important to underline that Argentina, which hosts an important Taiwanese community, have kept until nowadays fluent commercial exchanges with Taiwan.

In 1974, Argentina received the first commercial delegation from China, though with little success. The commercial relation did not increase in the following years. Paradoxically, the relation was revitalized after 1976, when a new military dictatorship was inaugurated in Argentina, with close ties with the United States and self-defined as “anti-communist”.[219]

In 1977 Argentina and China signed an agreement on maritime transportation and trademark registration. That same year, Argentina conducted its firs soy oil export to China. Nevertheless, some diplomatic tensions raised as Argentina was holding “especial relations” with the USSR, confronted with China in that time.[220]

In 1980, dictator Jorge Rafael Videla became the first Argentine head of State to make an official trip to China. Several agreements were signed, related to economic cooperation, science, technology, finance and culture. Two years later, China supported Argentina in the international organizations during the Malvinas War against the United Kingdom.[221]

Relations after the democratic restoration of 1983

After the democratic restoration occurred in 1983, the bilateral relation reached new levels of political and economic exchanges. In 1985, Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang visited Argentina and, in 1988, Argentine President Raúl Alfonsín travelled to China. Both administrations signed commercial and nuclear cooperation agreements, as trade between both countries increased during this period. The Chinese nuclear agreements with Argentina and Brazil sparked controversy with the US, which accused China of exporting nuclear technology to countries that had not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.[222]

During the Carlos Menem Presidency (1989-1999), Argentina became a strong US ally. In a context of deep economic and social crisis, Menem religiously adhered to the set of policies established by the Washington Consensus.

However, Menem kept an independent position regarding the relation with China and did not supported the international condemnation promoted from the Western powers after the Tiananmen Square incidents occurred in June 1989.[223] In fact, Chinese President Yang Shangkun visited Argentina, in 1990. Months later, Menem travelled to China in order to continue expanding the relations, in many fields.[224]

During Menem’s period, both countries reached relevant understandings in terms of phytosanitary measures and custom procedures. Moreover, Argentina opened a consulate in Shanghai. As a result of this good relations, China was the first Asian country with which Argentina signed a Protocol on Political Consultations.[225]

In 1995, Menem did a second visit to China, where Argentina announced its support for China’s inclusion in the WTO. The bilateral negotiations in this respect culminated in the year 2000, during Fernando De la Rúa’s short Presidency, who reigned in December 2001, amid the worst crisis in Argentine’s modern history.[226] The economic and social downfall in Argentina was only normalized one year later, during the provisional Presidency of Eduardo Duhalde (2002-2003).

The relations during the Néstor and Cristina Kirchner’s administrations

Over the Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Kirchner’s administrations (2007-2011 and 2011-2015), the relations with China experienced a significant growth in diplomatic and economic terms. This period coincided with the leftist political wave previously referred, of which the Kirchner’s were part. 

In 2004, Néstor Kirchner travelled to China and committed with his counterpart Hu Jintao to acknowledge China as a market economy, reaffirming Argentina’s support for China’s WTO inclusion. The fact is that until today this was not formalized and remains as a controversial issue of the bilateral relation.

Several agreements regarding economic cooperation, technology and culture were signed during the 2004 Kirchner’s visit to Beijing. Among other mutual understandings, Argentina eased migratory policies to favor Chinese nationals and China supported Argentina in front of the IMF and other financial multilateral organizations.[227] That same year, Hu Jintao also visited Argentina and both countries signed a comprehensive agreement on commerce and investment cooperation. China conceded the range of “strategic association” to Argentina.[228]

In 2006, Argentina opened a consulate in Guangzhou. One year later, China and Argentina also signed an agreement on military cooperation, along with new custom and phytosanitary measures to facilitate the bilateral commerce, especially regarding meat trade. In 2009 and 2010, new agreements to favor technological cooperation in food products, biotechnology, nanotechnology, energy and mining, among other sectors, were reached by both countries.[229]

5.2 Xi Jinping in power and the new phase of the relations with Argentina

In July 2014, Xi Jinping visited Argentina and agreed with his Argentine counterpart, Cristina Kirchner, to upgrade bilateral ties to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”, along with other 17 agreements.[230] In LAC, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela also hold that status.[231] Yanran Xu, expert from Renmin University, explains that “China’s strategic partnerships in LAC are economic in nature and driven by its growth mode which do not address conditions like democracy, human rights, social and environmentally issues rhetorically”.[232]

In the Argentine case, Xi made a multi-point proposal, saying the two sides should “further deepen political mutual trust, support each other’s independent choice of development path and maintain close contact and exchanges at different levels and in various fields”.[233]

Part of the new partnership consisted in a three-year swap operation of Argentina’s debt, totaling US$11 billion. China’s support was critical to Argentina’s macroeconomic stability, helping Argentina to avoid default on its foreign debt obligations in the context of Cristina Kirchner’s international confrontation against the so-called “vulture funds”.

As part of the new bilateral agreement, Argentina received US$7.5 billion in loans from the China Development Bank to construct two hydroelectric damsin the province of Santa Cruz and the railway project Belgrano Cargas. “But this came with strings attached. Argentina granted Chinese investors preferential access to build the projects. Clauses guaranteed preferences to Chinese suppliers and labor”, comments on this Dussel Peters.[234]

Before leaving office, Cristina Kirchner visited China in February 2015 and signed 15 agreements. Among others, for the construction of the fourth nuclear plant in Argentina.[235] The same year, Beijing committed to finance 85% of the two hydroelectric dams, involving US$ 15 billion in total. The construction was awarded to the joint venture formed by the companies Gezhouba (China), Electroingeniería (Argentina) and Hidrocuyo (Argentina).

The delicate new path of the relations since Macri became President

In November 2015, Mauricio Macri, leader of the center-right coalition “Cambiemos”, was elected President of Argentina. It signified a deep political change for the country. During the presidential campaign, Macri had sent mixed signals to Beijing. He had defined the relation as extremely relevant for Argentina but, at the same time, he announced that the contracts signed during the previous administration would be revised, as some “technical details were unknown”. This raised concern from the Chinese side.[236]

In April 2016, Macri met Xi for the first time in Washington DC, during a nuclear security summit.China agreed to review contracts signed with Argentina, which needed modifications, for the sake of transparency.“We are in a new era and from that point of view contracts signed under the previous administration will be reviewed”, said Macri, after the meeting. He also called for diversification of trade and investment with China. Macri encouraged “a greater equilibrium in trade balance” and invited Chinese businesses to “come to the country, not only in the energy sector, but also to build bridges, trains, and roads.”[237]

For his part, Xi said after the meeting that “the two countries should fully tap their cooperation potential and expand cooperation in such areas as agriculture, infrastructure construction, finance, energy, mining industry and telecommunications”.[238]

One of the most controversial projects was a space-monitoring base located in the province of Neuquén, agreed during the last Cristina Kirchner’s administration. As the base is under the direction of the China’s People’s Liberation Army, political opposition raised in Argentina. The critics aimed to the granted sovereign rights over part of the Argentine territory to China, and that the facility, entirely controlled and staffed by a unit of China’s military, could be used for military purposes.[239]

Finally, the base was finished last February, after an additional agreement signed in May 2016 in which China clarified that the base’s operation would be strictly scientific and only for civilian purposes.[240] Macri had a second short meeting with Xi during the G20 summit celebrated in Hangzhou, last September. More progress was made regarding the bilateral cooperation and also in terms of confidence building.

With respect to the two hydroelectric dams in Santa Cruz, the project generated economic and environmental concerns and remains as the most problematic issue of the bilateral relation. China agreed to reduce the power capacity, from 11 turbines to 8, among other financial and technical adjustments. However, the project is currently in standby as it was suspended by a judicial ruling of Argentina’s Supreme Court, in December 2016. The environmental reports to give certainty for the beginning of the dams were only approved last April.[241]

Macri’s fruitful state visit to China and attendance to OBOR Forum

Macri traveledto China for an official state visitthis May, with fruitful results in terms of agreements. He received a preferential treatment from the Chinese authorities and was also invited to participate in the OBOR Forum celebrated in Beijing, which was attended by 29 heads of state or government from all around the world. Macri and Chilean President Michele Bachelet were the only heads of state from Latin America.

Macri signed a series of agreements with Xi, for projects that contemplate an investment of at least 17,000 million dollars. According to the ministers involved in the elaboration of these agreements, the vast majority will be in place before the end of the first half of 2018.[242]

The bilateral meeting between Macri and Xiwas described by the Argentine Government as a “success” and also served to ratify the strategic partnership with the PRC. The most important agreements are the construction of two nuclear power plants (one in the province of Buenos Aires and the other in the province of Río Negro), the financing of the redevelopment of the San Martín and Belgrano Cargas railways, the financing of the Chihuido dam in Neuquén and the construction of a solar plant in the province of Jujuy. Other series of agreements were signed and there was no definition,at the moment,regarding the two controversial hydro-power dams located in Santa Cruz.[243]

“It was a very good meeting. We ratified the vocation of working together, signed a lot of agreements, generated work groups to work on the theme of tourism, new investments such as the San Martín train redevelopment, an extension of the Belgrano Cargas railway, solar plants and also investments in sports and cultural exchange”, said Macri, after signing the agreements in the People’s Palace.[244]

Xi’s vision on the relation with Argentina and Latin America

For his part, Xi provided important definitions on the bilateral relation with Argentina and the place of Latin America in China’s global strategy, after meeting with Macri.Xi called for “dovetailing the Belt and Road Initiative with Argentina’s development strategy, expanding cooperation in industries such as infrastructure, energy, agriculture, mining and manufacturing, and implementing existing major cooperation projects such as in hydro-power and railway fields”.[245]

Hailing Argentina’s support and participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi stressed that “Latin America is the natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”. “China stands ready to expand cooperation with Latin America, including aligning their development strategies through the Belt and Road Initiative, and jointly building a community of shared future”, Xi remarked.[246] This year marked the 45th anniversary of China-Argentina diplomatic ties and Xi highlighted a series of cultural activities that were held during Macri’s visit to celebrate the anniversary. He also said the two sides “should cement exchanges and cooperation in Antarctic affairs, culture, education, football, judiciary, law-enforcement, technology, tourism and youth affairs”, in line with Macri’s expectations on the future development of the bilateral relation.

Asymmetric relation in terms of trade

Argentina holds a strategic but asymmetric relation with China, which is its second commercial partner in terms of exports and imports, behind Brazil, and first destination of agricultural products. The trade imbalance between China and Argentina is acknowledged by both governments and was addressed during the last meeting between Xi and Macri.

In 2016, bilateral trade deficit was around US$ 5 billion. Argentina’s exports to China were valued at nearly US$ 5 billion compared to the US$ 10 billion moving in the opposite direction.Between 2003 and 2013, almost 85% of the trade balance was accounted for by three products: soybeans (55.46%), soybean oil (19.27%) and crude petroleum (10.04%).[247]

According to data from the Abecebconsultancy group, the trade deficit with China slightly declined in 2016. 2007, withUS$ 77 million in favor, was the last year in which the Argentine trade balance with China was positive. During the two periods of Cristina Kirchner’s presidency, the balance between imports and exports became negative at US$ 6.5 billion.[248]

The curious thing about this trend is that China continued to buy more or less the same thing ever since. The peak of sales was in 2008, with US$ 6.5 billion, according to DNIconsultancy group. Since then, everything went down toreach US$ 4.5 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, purchases doubled between 2007 and 2015: they went from 5.1 billion to 11.7 billion dollars. In 2016, both amounts went down.[249]

With Macri, the relation with China is expected to grow and expand

Despite his caution regarding the contracts previously signed with China, Macri’s administration definitely regards China as a strategic partner. In the near future, the relation is expected to grow and expand to new areas of cooperation, after the significant agreements signed during Macri’s last visit to China.

For China, Argentina also has become more relevant, not only because of the huge potential of economic cooperation, but also for geopolitical reasons, such as the deep crises ongoing in Brazil and Venezuela, China’s most important economic counterparts in South America.

5.3 Argentine experts’ opinions on the relation with China

To conclude this chapter, several Argentine experts’ opinions were collected to provide a better understanding of the present and perspectives of the relations between China and Argentina, taken both from recent publications or personal interviews with them, in the framework of this thesis.

The following five experts selected are, without doubt, among the most prominent Argentine analysts regarding the present topic. On the other hand, their opinions are divergent in many respects and cover key aspects of the issue addressed, such as: the strategic importance of China for Argentina and vice versa, the evolution of the relations since Macri became President of Argentina and the dynamic and prospect of the economic relations.

Fraga: “With Macri, the substance of the relationship was not altered”

The prestigious political analyst Rosendo Fraga assures that “the important thing in the bilateral relationship between China and Argentina, after the declaration of ‘strategic partnership’, in 2014, is that the political change that took place in 2015, with the arrival to power of Mauricio Macri, the substance of the relationship was not altered”. And he points that “after being critical of the previous agreements, once Macri took office, he acted with realismand did not choose to reject the agreements, which would have had a high cost for Argentina; not only with respect to China, but before the world for the alteration in the rule of law”.[250]

Regarding the ties between Argentina and the United States, Fraga considers:“The ‘illusion’ that Argentina could be the ‘strategic partner’ of Washington in the region, was diluted las November, with the triumph of Trump. The Argentine President’s visit to China to take place in May happens in a context in which Argentina has had to change its foreign policy focus, which initially aimed to the reconstitution of relations with the US. Now, the goal is to deepen and develop better relations with Latin America, Europe and Asia”.[251]

Girado: “We are not clear on what we want of the relationship with China”

According to Gustavo Girado, expert in Asian affairs, relations between China and Argentina have been characterized by strong continuities. “The relations between China and Argentina have been excellent. Continuities have beenseen during three State administrations of at least two different political signs. Argentina’s foreign policy towards China have had the same meaning and embraced the same north. This allowed them to deepen in the medium term, and to be able to think in the long term”, he affirms.[252]

However, unlike Fraga, Girado has a critical point of view on the current Macri’s policy towards China. “The recent political change in Argentina put things in a regrettable new north, that is, we are again facing a hegemon as an unstable economy and we are not clear on what we wantof the relationship with China. But it does not even seem certain what we intend at the sub-regional level (MERCOSUR). For its part, China maintains in front of LAC in general and Argentina in particular, its historical and necessarily pragmatic approach, hence the continuity of its policy towards this part of the world remains consistent”, he opines.[253]

Busanello: “China is like a compass in the future development of world economies”

Horacio Busanello, economist and businessman with a long professional career in China, provides an interesting viewpoint regarding the importance of mutual understanding: “China is fundamental for Argentina and Latin America and, if we do not understand it a little bit more, we are complicated”. “China is like a compass in the future development of world economies: where its economy is headed, how their society will evolve, what will happen to the CPC, how their relationship with the US will develop and how far, they are all factors that will influence the future of Latin America and Argentina”, he affirms.[254]

With respect to the economic perspectives of the bilateral relation, Busanello says that “China is important for us and we are to them because we are food suppliers, but we can be more important even if we also give them technology”. “For instance, precision agriculture has a big chance due to the low productivity of Chinese fields”, he highlights.[255]

Bolinaga: “China asserts its strength by asymmetric-bilateral negotiations”

Luciano Bolinaga, Director of the Asia Pacific Study Group at Universidad Abierta Interamericana, also considers that China has clearly consolidated as a strategic and necessary partner for Argentina. “China became the second largest trading partner in Argentina and an important source of financial flows and direct investments to strategic areas, such as oil and infrastructure. Thus, it is absurd to think of a model of local development that does not contemplate the political and economic linkage of Argentina with its ‘Chinese partner’”.[256]

Nonetheless, Bolinaga is pessimistic about the real possibilities of Latin American countries to break the asymmetric cycle in the economic relations: “China asserts its strength by asymmetric-bilateral negotiations, which blocks the possibilities of the countries of the region to overcome an international insertion scheme based on traditional comparative advantages and to reorient their factors of production towards activities of greater value-added content and knowledge”.[257]

Castro: “It is a strategic priority for Argentina to attract large-scale investment from China”

Finally, renowned political analyst Jorge Castro, Director of the Strategic Planning Institute, considers that “the relation with the ‘great Asian power’ is the most important for Argentina in this century, as the principal source of capital of the world”.“In this phase of capitalist development,China’s priority in relation to the countries of South America and, above all, in relation to Brazil (the largest industrial country in the region), is not to increase the raw material exports from the region, but to promote the manufacturing development and the modernization of infrastructure, especially rail transport”, he affirms.[258]

“It is a strategic priority for Argentina, one of the three largest industrial countries in Latin America, which has more than 100 years of manufacturing history, to attract large-scale investment from the PRC, primarily in the manufacturing sector. This is what makes the knowledge of China a national requirement for Argentines at this time in its history, as well as a fundamental component of its civic culture”, thinks Castro, when looking towards the future of the relation between both countries.[259]

 

GENERAL CONCLUSIONS

-         When analyzing the historical evolution of the relations between China and Latin America it becomes clear the increasing geopolitical and economic importance assigned for China to Latin America, since Mao Zedong’s times in power.

-         During the initials stages of the People’s Republic of China, the relations with Latin America were basically defined by the raw materials and agricultural products that China needs, as well as Latin America was an attractive market for the Chinese manufactured products.

-         The Taiwan issue has also been a decisive factor of the historical Chinese approach towards the region. 13 Latin American countries, mostly located in Central America, still reject the ‘One China Policy’.

-         The Deng Xiaoping’s era was a turning point for China’s economic development and also set the precedent for a new phase of flourishing relations with Latin America, in the context of structural pro-market reforms thatallowed a rapid expansion of China’s economic presence in Latin America.

-         During Jiang Zemin’s Presidency, the cooperation between China and Latin America deepened significantly, particularly in terms of trade.

-         With Hu Jintao in power the ties with Latin America experienced and impressive boost, spurred by the ‘commodity boom’ period driven by China’s explosive economic growth and a favorable political context in Latin America.

-         Xi Jinping came into power in 2012 and soon became the strongest Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping’s political era.

-         Xi is promoting deep internal reforms and projecting a more nationalistic and assertive China on the world stage, in the framework of China’s global expansion as the emerging superpower of the 21st Century.

-         Besides its historical economic relevance, in this new scenario Latin America acquired a new geopolitical significance for China’s global strategy.

-         New big steps have been reached under Xi’s leadership to improve and expand the political and economic relations with Latin America, with a renewed and comprehensive strategic vision, following the path laid out for his predecessors.

-         Xi Jinping’snew approach towards Latin America has been expressed in several strategies and documents, like the “1+3+6” framework, introduced in 2014, and the second policy paper for the relations with Latin America, issued in 2016.

-         At the same time, China has showed a consistent continuity regardingits historical foreign policy principles of promoting pacific cooperation and “win-win” relations, devoid of any kind of ideological or political alignments. In the case of the Pacific-rim countries, the predominant strategy has been the establishment of Free Trade Agreements.

-         In 2014, China entered a new economic phase denominated ‘new normal’switching toward a model of internal consumption and slower development, raising anxieties and concern in Latin America, as the ‘commodity boom’ ended.

-         Unfortunately, most of Latin American governments did not take advantage of the ‘commodity boom’ exceptional period and countries like Venezuela and Brazil are going through deep political, economic and social crises.

-         Opinions are divided with respect of the future of the relations in this new economic context. There are those who foresee a “win-win” period, which will finally contribute to the development of Latin American countries, while some others consider that this is a return to historical patterns of dependency, in a post-commodity boom environment.

-         Be that as it may, there is general agreement thatLatin America must carry on transformations in key areas of its economic structure and its bilateral relations, in order to take advantage of the big opportunities that China provides.

-         The relation with China is clearly asymmetric and it will remain being so. The main challenge for the Latin American countries is to act in a more coordinated way, in order to consolidate a regional and more stable position before China.

-         Xi’s proposal for Latin America in front of China’s ‘new normal’ economic phase has been to deepen and expand the cooperation to new areas, specially by announcing huge investment projects and providing the financial support that Latin American countries need to continue improving its poor and underdeveloped infrastructure.

-         On the other hand, there is a new political context in Latin America, with new center-right governments, but this is not necessary bad news for China. What is more, cooperation is expected to continue at the same pace or even deepen in this new political period of the region.

-         There has been a clear retreat of the United States from Latin America in terms of political and economic influence, during the last years. This has triggered a debate about the possible consolidation of a new ‘triangle’ in Latin America, presumably dominated by China, the new big partner for the region.

-         Nevertheless, China has not changed its historical approach of avoiding confrontation or challenge with the United States in its former “backyard”. Moreover, China has promoted dialogue and multilateral cooperation with the United States in the region, what would undoubtedly be the most beneficial scenario for both sides and, of course, for Latin America.

-         The case of Argentina is a good example of the historical importance assigned for China to Latin America and vice versa. This case also demonstrates the huge opportunities of mutually beneficial cooperation between both sides, not only in trade, but also in other areas of cooperation such as finance, investment, science, technology and tourism.

-         Ultimately, it is in the hands of the Latin American peoples and their governments to provide the economic development and prosperity the region should have, given its huge potential in terms of natural and human resources. But of course, there will be always a hegemonic superpower in the neighborhood, like used to be the United States and now is China, to accuse and victimize us for our chronic failure to develop.

 

STATISTICAL ANNEX

Hereafter, figures and tables with recent statistics are presented, regarding the main commercial flows and areas of the economic cooperation between China and Latin Americain recent years. The source of these charts is the previously quoted “China-LAC Economic Bulletin 2017 Edition”, elaborated by Rebecca Ray and Kevin Gallagher.[260]

 

REFERENCES

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES

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Bolinaga, Luciano (2015): “El consenso de Beijing y la reprimarización productiva de América Latina: el caso argentino”. Paper published by “Revista Problemas del Desarrollo”, edition Nº 183 (Argentina)

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PERSONAL INTERVIEWS

Rosendo Fraga. Argentine lawyer, historian, professor and political analyst specialized in military affairs. Director of the Center of Studies “Nueva Mayoría”, in Argentina. Interview conducted on 20th March, 2017.

Gustavo Girado. Argentine economist and Master in Internationals Relations, specialized in Asian affairs. Professor and researcher at Buenos Aires University and La Matanza University, in Argentina.Interview conducted on 30th March, 2017.

WEBSITES

International multilateral organizations

United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC) - http://www.cepal.org/en

Organization of American States (OAS) - www.oas.org

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - http://www.imf.org/external/index.htm

World Bank (WB) - http://www.worldbank.org

Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) - www.coha.org

Inter-American Dialogue (IAD) - www.thedialogue.org

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) - http://www.cfr.org

Latin American multilateral organizations

Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) - http://celacinternational.org

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) - http://www.apec.org

Pacific Alliance (AP) - https://alianzapacifico.net

Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) - www.mercosur.int

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) - http://www.iadb.org/en

Chinese official institutions and organizations

Presidency of the People’s Republic of China - http://english1.english.gov.cn

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China - http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng

Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China - http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) - http://www.icbc.com.cn

Argentine official institutions and organizations

National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) - www.economia.gob.ar

Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship - http://www.mrecic.gov.ar/en

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Argentina - http://ar.chineseembassy.org/

Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI) - www.cari.org.ar

Argentine-Chinese Chamber - http://www.argenchina.org/_en

Media

Xinhua News Agency (China) - http://www.xinhuanet.com/english

Global Times (China) - http://www.globaltimes.cn

China Daily (China) - http://www.chinadaily.com.cn

South China Morning Post (China) - www.scmp.com

China – US Focus (Hong Kong, China) http://www.chinausfocus.com

The Diplomat magazine (Asia-Pacific) - http://thediplomat.com

Indo Asian News Service (India) - http://www.ians.in

Associated Press (US) - https://www.ap.org

Fox News (US) - www.foxnews.com

The New York Times (US) - https://www.nytimes.com

The Washington Post (US) - https://www.washingtonpost.com

The Wall Street Journal (US) - www.wsj.com

Foreign Policy (US) - http://foreignpolicy.com

Foreign Affairs magazine (US) - https://www.foreignaffairs.com

BBC News (UK) - www.bbc.com/news

Reuters Agency (UK) - www.reuters.com

The Guardian (UK) - https://www.theguardian.com

Daily Mail (UK) - www.dailymail.co.uk

Inter Press Service (Italy) - www.ipsnews.net

Prensa Latina (Cuba) - www.prensa-latina.cu

Diálogo Chino (Brazil) - http://dialogochino.net

La Nación (Argentina) - http://www.lanacion.com.ar

Infobae (Argentina) - http://www.infobae.com

Hangzhou, May 2017


[1] Clarification: Chinese official documents usually refer to “Latin America and the Caribbean”. In this paper, the entire region will be named as “Latin America” or LAC, in its abbreviated form.

[2] NOTE ON THE CONTENT: All transliterations of Chinese into English in this research are expressed in Pinyin, in italic style. The translations from Spanish to English are my own.

[3] Definition taken from the Merrian-Webster dictionary. Available online in: www.merriam-webster.com

[4] Sloan, Jeoffrey (2017): “Geopolitics, Geography and Strategic History”. Published by Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

[5] Wee, Chow-Hou (2003): “Sun Zi Art of War – An illustrated translation with Asian perspectives and insights”. Published by Pearson Education Asia.

[6]Zhongqing, Yin (2010): “China’s Political System”. China Intercontinental Press (CIP), p. 5-8.

[7]Dawei, Cao; Yanjing, Sun (2011): “China’s History (China Basics Series – English Edition)”. Published by China Intercontinental Press (CIP).

[8] Lawrence, Susan and Martin, Michael (2013). “Understanding China’s Political System”. Congressional Research Service. Congress of the United States of America. Published by CRS Press, p. 2-3.

[9]Heilmann, Sebastian (2017): “China’s Political System”. Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

[10] Ibid., p. 5.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Chuntao, Xie (2012): “Why and how the CPC works in China?”. Revised Edition. Published by National Publication Foundation.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Report for Selected Countries and Subjects”. International Monetary Fund. Published in April, 2014.

[15] Lockhart, James; Bushnell, David; Kittleson, Roger A. (2016): “History of Latin America”. Britannica Encyclopedia.

[16] Baten, Jörg (2016): “A History of the Global Economy. From 1500 to the Present”. Cambridge University Press, p. 138.

[17] Ibid., p. 139.

[18]UNECLAC (2015): “Inclusive social protection in Latin America. An integral look, a focus on rights”. Published by UNECLAC press.

[19] “Poll About Living Conditions” (ENCOVI, for its Spanish language initials). Research carried out in January 2017 by the universities Central de Venezuela, Católica Andrés Bello y Simón Bolívar.

[20]The historical facts and considerations are based on: Floria, Carlos and GarcíaBelsunce, César (2013): “Historia de losargentinos - 2ª edición”. Edited by El Ateneo (Argentina).

[21]National Institute of Statistics and Census of Argentina (INDEC, for its initials in Spanish language). Official nationwide study conducted in January 2017, based on data collected in the last trimester of 2016.

[22] World Bank's Data Help Desk (2016): “Country Classification. World Bank Country and Lending Groups”. Available online: https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledgebase

[23]McAnarney, Alex (2012): “A very long engagement: 400 years of Sino-Latin American relations”. Article published in the electronic magazine Fair Observer.

[24] Ibid.

[25] “How a historic Pacific trade route can foster better China-Latin America ties”. Article published by South China Morning Post. Date: 1st May, 2015.

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1783446/how-historic-pacific-trade-route-can-foster-better-china

[26] Ibid.

[27] Seijas, Tatiana (2014): “Asian slaves in Colonial Mexico: From chinos to Indians”. Published by Cambridge University Press, p. 7.

[28] Meagher, Arnold (2008): “The Coolie Trade: The traffic in Chinese laborers to Latin America, 1847-1874”. Published by Xlibris Corporation Press, p. 10.

[29] McAnarney, op. cit.

[30] McAnarney, op. cit.

[31]Sevares, Julio (2015): “China, un socio imperial para Argentina y América Latina”. Published by EDHASA (Argentina), p. 109.

[32] Bingwen, Zheng (2012): “Sesenta años de relaciones entre China y América Latina: retrospectivas y reflexiones.” In Benjamin Creutzfeldt (Editor), 2012: “China en América Latina: reflexiones sobre las relaciones transpacíficas”. Published by Universidad Externado (Colombia).

[33] Lafargue, François (2007): “China’s presence in Latin America: Strategies, aims and limits”. Published by the magazine China Perspectives (N° 68), p. 3.

[34] Gálvez, Liksa (2012): “China and developing countries: the case of Latin America”. Published by the Institute of International Studies of the University of Chile, p. 7.

[35] Lafargue, op. cit., p.3.

[36] Cheng JYS. and Zhang FWK (2009): “Chinese Foreign Relation Strategy Under Mao and Deng: A Systematic and Comparative Analysis”. Published by U.P. Diliman Journals Online, p. 10.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Grant, Cedric (1995): “Equity in Third World relations: a Third World perspective”. Publishedbythe Royal Institute of International Affairs.

[39] López Segrera, Francisco (1998): “La teoría de la dependencia: un balance histórico y teórico”. En libro: “Los retos de la globalización. Ensayo en homenaje a Theotonio Dos Santos”.  Published by UNESCO press (Venezuela).

[40] The following Latin American states currently recognize Taiwan: Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Recently, Costa Rica (2007), Grenada (2005) and Dominica (2004) broke ties with Taiwan and established formal relations with Beijing. Meanwhile, Santa Lucia switched back to Taiwan in 2007.

[41] Bregolat, Eugenio (2007): “La segunda revolución china. Claves para entender al país más importante del Siglo XXI”. Editorial Capital Intelectual, p. 34.

[42] Dussel Peters, Enrique (2015): “China’s evolving role in Latin America: Can it be a win-win?”. Published by The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, p. 5.

[43] Regalado Florido, Eduardo (2009): “Current economic relations between China and Latin America”. Published by the Institute of Developing Economies of the Japan External Trade Organization, p. 6.

[44] Pillsbury, Michael (1997): “Chinese views of future warfare”. Published by National Defense University Press (Washington DC), p. 24.

[45] Williamson, John (1989): “What Washington means by Policy Reform”, in: Williamson, John (ed.): Latin American Readjustment: “How Much has happened”. Published by the Institute for International Economics (Washington DC).

[46] Regalado Florido, op. cit., p. 4.

[47] Kelly, Lara (2009): “Neoliberalism in Latin America”. Article published in Citizen’s Press (www.cpress.org).

[48] Regalado Florido, op. cit., p. 7.

[49] Gallagher, Kevin P. (2016): “The China Triangle: Latin America's China Boom and the Fate of the Washington Consensus”. Oxford University Press, p. 4.

[50] Ibid., p. 8.

[51] Medeiros, Evan (2009): “China's International Behavior: Activism, Opportunism, and Diversification”. Published by Project Air Force Press.

[52] “China’s President to visit five Latin American countries”. Article published by Associated Press news agency. Date: 12th April, 1990.

http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1990/China-s-President-To-Visit-Five-Latin-American-Countries/id-581fe8019aa43be82e8d8e2c5461cac9

[53] UNECLAC (2004): Panorama de la inserción internacional de América Latina y el Caribe. “Tendencias 2005. Capítulo V: Aspectos estratégicos de la relación entre China y América Latina y el Caribe”. Published by UNECLAC press.

[54]Regalado Florido, op. cit., p. 7.

[55]Ibid., p. 8.

[56] Moneta, Carlos (2005): “China y el nuevo proceso de institucionalización de la integración en Asia-Pacífico: perspectivas para Argentina/Mercosur y América Latina”. Published by BID-INTAL press (Argentina), p. 184.

[57] Ibid.

[58]Lafargue, op. cit., p.8.

[59] Xu, Yanran (2016): “China's Strategic Partnerships in Latin America: Case Studies of China's Oil Diplomacy in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela, 1991 to 2015”. Published by Rowman & Littlefield, p. 45.

[60] Wang, Hongying (2016): “A deeper look at China’s ‘Going Out’ policy”. Article published by the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

https://www.cigionline.org/publications/deeper-look-chinas-going-out-policy

[61] Dussel Peters, op. cit., p.7.

[62] What really brought Jiang Zemin to Latin America? – Article published by Inter Press Service News Agency. Date: April 13th, 2001.

http://www.ipsnews.net/2001/04/rights-what-really-brought-jiang-zemin-to-latin-america/

[63]Baiyi, Wu; Weiguang, Liu and Tongchang, Cai (2012): “China – Latin America Relations: Review and Analysis (Volume 1)”. Published by Paths International Ltd, p. 67.

[64]“China's trade with Latin America grew in 2011”. Article published by Indo Asian News Service. Date: 18th April, 2012.

https://in.news.yahoo.com/chinas-trade-latin-america-grew-2011-050334275.html

[65] “Hu Jintao’s visit to four Latin-American countries and his attending to the APEC Summit”. Article published in Xinhua News. Date: 22nd November, 2004.

http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/topics_665678/huvisit_665888/

[66] Castro Lara, Alma and Saldarriaga Restrepo, Juan Fernando (2016): “The Chinese presence in Latin America: Commerce, investment and economic cooperation”. Published by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Press, p. 98.

[67] Dussel Peters, op. cit., p.7.

[68]Dussel Peters, op. cit., p.3.

[69] Ramo, Joshua Cooper (2004): “The Beijing Consensus”. Article published by The Foreign Policy Centre. http://fpc.org.uk/fsblob/244.pdf

[70] Sanz, Jorge (2013): “La influencia de China en Latinoamérica: El consenso de Washington y el de Beijing”. Cuadernos de Pensamiento Político, Nº 37. Published by Fundación para el Análisis y los Estudios Sociales (Spain), p. 148.

[71] Malena, Jorge; Ramón Berjano, Carola and Velloso, Miguel (2015): “El relacionamiento de China con América Latina y la Argentina”. Documento de Trabajo Nº 96. Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (Argentina), p. 48.

[72]Castro Lara, Alma, op. cit., p. 56.

[73]Malena, Jorge; Ramón Berjano, Carola and Velloso, Miguel (2015), op. cit., p. 7.

[74] Ibid., p. 99.

[75] “China's Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean”. Official document of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. Issued: 2008.

[76] Ibid.

[77]Hirst, Monica (2008): “A South-South Perspective,” in China’s Expansion into the Western Hemisphere: Implications for Latin America and the United States, Riordan Roett and Guadalupe Paz, eds. (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2008).

[78] Cui, Shoujun and Pérez García, Manuel (2016): “China and Latin America in transition: Policy dynamics, economic commitments and social impacts”. Published by Palgrave Macmillan Press, p. 2.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Dussel Peters, op. cit., p.7.

[81] Wang, Sam (2016): “China and Latin America in 2016”. Article published by the Council of Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), p. 2.

[82] Ibid.

[83]GokceAdas, Cenk and Tussupova, Bibigul (2016): “Effects of the Global Financial Crisis on Chinese Economy”. Published by the International Journal of Social Science Studies (Vol 4, Nº 4), p. 1.

[84] Dharmawardhane, Iromi (2015): “South Asia and LAC: A Powerful Friendship to be Nurtured”. Paper presented to the Second Global South International Studies Conference of the International Studies Association (ISA), p. 3.

[85]Koleski, Katherine (2011): “Backgrounder: China in Latin America”. U.S.-China Economic & Security Review.

[86] Castro Lara, Alma and Saldarriaga Restrepo, Juan Fernando (2016), op. cit., p. 99.

[87] Yue, Yunxia (2015): “Cooperation between China and Latin America: New normal needs new strategy”. Published by International Business press.

[88] Gallagher, Kevin P. (2016), op. cit., p. 41.

[89] Fitch Ratings (2012): “China's Economic Rise Provides Mixed Benefits for Latin America”. Fitch Ratings report for Business Wire magazine.

[90] UNECLAC (2013): “Commerce and investment promotion with China”. Published by UNECLAC press.

[91] Ibid.

[92] Castro Lara, Alma and Saldarriaga Restrepo, Juan Fernando (2016), op. cit., p. 98.

[93]Fornes, Gastón and Butt Philip, Alan (2012): “The China-Latin America axis: Emerging markets and the future of globalization”. Published by Palgrave Macmillan editions.

[94] Dollar, David (2017): “China’s Investment in Latin America”. Published by Foreign Policy at Brookings Institution.

[95] Xi Jinping’s official biography (2013). Available in the official website of The Presidency of The People’s Republic of China: http://english1.english.gov.cn/2013-03/14/content_2353971.htm.

[96] Brown, Kerry (2016): “CEO, China: The rise of Xi Jinping”. Published by I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd, p. 35-36.

[97] Ibid.

[98]Xi Jinping’s official biography (2013), op. cit.

[99] Ibid.

[100] “China’s Communist Party declares Xi Jinping ‘core’ leader”. Article published by The New York Times. Date: 27th October, 2016.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/world/asia/xi-jinping-china.html

[101] Lampton, David (2014): “Following the leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping”. Published by University of California Press, p. 63.

[102] This subchapter is based on the autobiographical book “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China”(2014). Published by Foreign Languages Press.

[103] Obtained from the special report “Achievements made in China under Xi’s leadership”, published by China Daily before the 2017 annual legislative and political advisory sessions. Date: 3rd March, 2017.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017xiachievements/?from=singlemessage&isappinstalled=0&winzoom=1

[104]Junru, Li (2014): “The Chinese Path and the Chinese Dream”. Published by Foreign Languages Press, p. 38.

[105] “Realize youthful dreams”. Speech addressed by Xi Jinping in May 4th, 2013. Full speech on “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” (2014, Foreign Languages Press), p. 53.

[106] “China to move closer to Centenary goals”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 2nd January, 2017.http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-01/02/c_135950008.htm

[107] “Achievements made in China under Xi’s leadership”, op. cit.

[108]“Reform and opening is ongoing and will never end”. Speech addressed by Xi Jinping in December 31st, 2012. Full speech on “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” (2014, Foreign Languages Press), p. 73.

[109]Eckart, Jonathan (2016): “8 things you need to know about China’s economy”. Published by the World Economic Forum Press.

[110]  “Transition to innovation-driven growth”. Speech addressed by Xi Jinping in June 9th, 2014. Full speech on “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” (2014, Foreign Languages Press), p. 131.

[111] “What is China’s ‘new normal’?”. By Robert Preston. Published by BBC News. Date: 24th September, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34344926

[112] World Economic Forum (2017): “President Xi's full speech to Davos”. Date: 17th January, 2017.https://america.cgtn.com/2017/01/17/full-text-of-xi-jinping-keynote-at-the-world-economic-forum

[113] “Achievements made in China under Xi’s leadership”, op. cit.

[114] “Action plan on the Belt and Road Initiative”. Document published State Council of the People’s Republic of China. Date: 30th March, 2015.http://english.gov.cn/beltAndRoad/

[115] World Economic Forum (2017), op. cit.

[116] “China's Xi urges swatting of lowly ‘flies’ in fight on everyday graft”. Published by Reuters Press. Date: 22nd January, 2013.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-corruption-xi-idUSBRE90L0AA20130122

[117]“Achievements made in China under Xi’s leadership”, op. cit.

[118] Brown, Kerry (2016),op. cit., p. 231.

[119]“Achievements made in China under Xi’s leadership”, op. cit.

[120] “Governing a big country is as delicate as frying a small fish”. Speech addressed by Xi Jinping in March 19th, 2013. Full speech on “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” (2014, Foreign Languages Press), p. 457.

[121] “Chinese socialistic rule of law”. Speech addressed by Xi Jinping in February 23rd, 2013. Full speech on “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” (2014, Foreign Languages Press), p. 160.

[122] “Communist Party pledges greater role for constitution, rights in fourth plenum”. Published by South China Morning Post. Date: 24th October, 2014.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1623286/communist-party-pledges-greater-role-constitution-rights-fourth-plenum

[123] Doyon, J; Winckler, H (2014): “The Fourth Plenum, Party Officials and Local Courts”. Published by www.jamestown.org

[124] “Family planning commission 'satisfied' with birth rate”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 11th March 2017.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017twosession/2017-03/11/content_28518231.htm

[125] “Is China’s ‘assertiveness’ in the South China Sea all about nationalism?”. Article published by The Diplomat magazine. Date: 4th November, 2016.

http://thediplomat.com/2016/04/is-chinas-assertiveness-in-the-south-china-sea-all-about-nationalism/

[126] Wolff, David (2014): “Understanding ‘Tao Guang Yang Hui’” Article published by The Peking Review.https://pekingreview.com/2014/09/02/understanding-tao-guang-yang-hui/

[127]Weichong, Ong (2016): “Why China’s behavior in the South China Sea is not surprising”. Article published by The Diplomat magazine. Date: 24th December, 2016.

http://thediplomat.com/2016/12/why-chinas-behavior-in-the-south-china-sea-is-not-surprising

[128] Baker, Peter (2014): “As Russia draws closer to China, U.S. faces a new challenge”. Published by The New York Times. Date: 8th November, 2014.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/09/world/vladimir-putin-xi-jinping-form-closer-ties.html

[129]Denyer, Simon (2017): “China suspends North Korean coal imports, striking at regime’s financial lifeline”. Published by The Washington Post. Date: 18th February 2017.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-suspends-north-koreas-coal-imports-striking-at-regimes-financial-lifeline/2017/02/18/8390b0e6-f5df-11e6-a9b0-ecee7ce475fc_story.html

[130] “China warns of arms race after U.S. deploys missile defense in South Korea”. Article published by The New York Times. Date: 7th March, 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/world/asia/thaad-missile-defense-us-south-korea-china.html

[131]World Economic Forum (2017), op. cit.

[132] “China, ‘anchor of global stability’”. Article published by Global Times. Date: 9th March, 2017.

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1036768.shtml

[133] Baiyi, Wu (2015): “Latin America is the latest focus of China’s major-power diplomacy”. Article published by China-US Focus. Date: January 21st, 2015.

http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/latin-america-is-the-latest-focus-of-chinas-major-power-diplomacy/

[134]Das, Shaheli (2016): “Is Latin America of strategic importance to China?”. Article published in The Diplomat magazine. Date: 13th December, 2016.

http://thediplomat.com/2016/12/is-latin-america-of-strategic-importance-to-china/

[135] Ibid.

[136] Piccone, Ted (2016): “The geopolitics of China’s rise in Latin America”. Published by Foreign Policy at Brookings Institution, p. 2.

[137] “Xi Jinping and Peña Nieto sign the 'Tequila Pact,' broaden relations”. Article published by Fox News. Date: 5th June, 2013.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/05/xi-jinping-and-pena-nieto-sign-tequila-pact-broaden-relations.html

[138] Castro Lara, Alma and Saldarriaga Restrepo, Juan Fernando (2016), op. cit., p. 101-102.

[139] Swaine, Michael (2014): “Xi Jinping's July 2014 Trip to Latin America”. Article published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, p. 2.

[140] Ibid.

[141] Ibid., p. 3.

[142] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (2015): “China’s Foreign Affairs”. Annual report from the Department of Policy Planning. Published by World Affairs Press, p. 57-58.

[143] Malena, Jorge; Ramón Berjano, Carola and Velloso, Miguel (2015),op. cit., p. 10.

[144] Ibid., p. 11.

[145] Dussel Peters, op. cit., p.14.

[146] “Premier proposes ‘3 x 3’ model for China-Latin America cooperation”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 20th May, 2015.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2015livistsa/2015-05/21/content_20783638.htm

[147]Ibid., p. 15.

[148] Castro Lara, Alma and Saldarriaga Restrepo, Juan Fernando (2016), op. cit., p. 101.

[149] Ibid.

[150] “Trump makes China great in Latin America”. Article published by The Diplomat magazine. Date: 21st April, 2017.http://thediplomat.com/2017/04/trump-makes-china-great-in-latin-america/

[151] “China’s Xi Jinping warns APEC leaders against isolationism”. Article published by South China Morning Post. Date: 20th November, 2016.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2047588/chinas-xi-jinping-warns-apec-leaders-against

[152] “Xi: China-Ecuador on path to brotherhood ties”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 18th November, 2016.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2016xivisitepc/2016-11/18/content_27417143.htm

[153] “Beijing aims to stimulate Latin American growth”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 23rd November, 2016.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2016xivisitepc/2016-11/23/content_27460550.htm

[154] “China, Chile seek to upgrade FTA”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 24th November, 2016.http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2016xivisitepc/2016-11/24/content_27474468.htm

[155] “China's Policy Paper on LAC and the Caribbean”. Official document of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. Issued: 2016.

[156]Das, Shaheli (2016), op. cit.

[157] “Latin America policy paper points to a 'shared future'”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 25th November, 2016.http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-11/25/content_27481051.htm

[158] Personal interview conducted for this thesis in March, 2017. See details in the “References” section.

[159]See the “Statistical Annex” at the end of this paper for detailed figures and tables on the economic relation between China and Latin America.

[160] Wang, Sam (2016), op. cit., p. 2.

[161] The Observatory of Economic Complexity, MIT Media Lab (2016). Data available on: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en

[162] Ray, Rebecca and Gallagher, Kevin (2017): “China-LAC Economic Bulletin 2017 Edition”. Published by Global Economic Governance Initiative, p. 2.

[163] Dussel Peters, op. cit., p. 9.

[164]Ray, Rebecca and Gallagher, Kevin (2017), op. cit., p.7.

[165] Ibid., p. 5.

[166] Ibid., p. 10.

[167] Dollar, David (2016), op. cit., p. 3

[168] Gallagher, Kevin P. (2016), op. cit., p. 147.

[169] Gallagher, Kevin P. (2016), op. cit., p. 130.

[170] Ferchen, Matt (2016): “What’s new About Xi’s 'new era' of China-Latin America relations?”. Article published in The Diplomat magazine.

http://thediplomat.com/2016/11/whats-new-about-xis-new-era-of-china-latin-america-relations/

[171] Ibid.

[172] Pinneo, Ronn (2015): “China and Latin America: What you need to know”. Article published by the Council of Hemispheric Affairs.http://www.coha.org/china-and-latin-america-what-you-need-to-know/

[173] Gallagher, Kevin P. (2016), op. cit., p. 146.

[174] Inter-American Development Bank (2016): “Made in China-LAT”. Integration & Commerce series (Nº 40 - June, 2016), p. 286.

[175] Ibid., p. 270.

[176] Ibid., p. 277.

[177] Ibid., p. 133.

[178] Ibid.

[179] “China-Latin America overall cooperation pushes ahead on a great journey”. Article written by Zhu Qingqiao in occasion of the 2015 China-CELAC forum held in Beijing. Published by the CELAC official website. Date: 5th February, 2015.http://www.chinacelacforum.org/eng/zyxw_1/t1338784.htm

[180] Personal interview conducted for this thesis in March, 2017. See details in the “References” section.

[181]Piccone, Ted (2016), op. cit., p. 3.

[182] Ibid., p. 4.

[183] Dussel Peters, op. cit., p.22.

[184] Ibid., p. 23.

[185] Catalinac, A.; Cesarin, S. and Russell, R. (2006): “China’s relations with Latin America: shared gains, asymmetric hopes”. Working paper published by Inter-American Dialogue organization.

[186] “14 nations urge Venezuela to ‘re-establish democracy’ amid food and fuel shortages”. Article published by Reuters Agency press and reproduced by Fortune magazine. Date: 24th March, 2017.

http://fortune.com/2017/03/24/venezuela-elections-crisis-fuel-food/

[187] “Brazil's Dilma Rousseff impeached by senate in crushing defeat”. Article published by The Guardian. Date: 1st September, 2016.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/31/dilma-rousseff-impeached-president-brazilian-senate-michel-temer

[188] “Argentina ex-leader Cristina Fernandez to go on trial”. Article published by BBC News. Date: 23rd March, 2017.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-39364565

[189] “Chile's center-left is in a labyrinth before the elections”. Article published by Prensa Latina. Date: 11th April, 2017.

http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=11554&SEO=chiles-center-left-is-in-a-labyrinth-before-the-elections

[190]“China's leading role in Argentina reviewed and confirmed by Macri”. Article published by MercoPress, South Atlantic News Agency. Date: 2nd August, 2016.

http://en.mercopress.com/2016/08/02/china-s-leading-role-in-argentina-reviewed-and-confirmed-by-macri

[191] Wang, Sam (2016), op. cit., p. 3.

[192] Wang, Pablo (2016): “China and Latin America: strategic relations in times of change”. Published by www.opendemocracy.net, p. 2.

[193] Ibid.

[194] Ibid.

[195] Bingham, Hiram (2011): “Latin America and the Monroe Doctrine”. Published by The Yale Review, p. 3.

[196] Ellis, R. Evan (2016): “The strategic dimension of Chinese engagement in Latin America. Commercial activities in strategic sectors”. Published by Progressive Management Press, p. 72-73.

[197] Gallagher, Kevin P. (2016),op. cit., p. 7.

[198] Cui, Shoujun, op. cit., p.1.

[199] Ibid., p. 2.

[200] Das, Shaheli (2016), op. cit.

[201] “Kerry makes it official: ‘Era of Monroe Doctrine is over’”. Article published by The Wall Street Journal. Date: 18th November, 2013.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/11/18/kerry-makes-it-official-era-of-monroe-doctrine-is-over/

[202] Tokatlián, Juan Gabriel (2007): “Latin America, China, and the United States: a hopeful triangle”. Article published by www.opendemocracy.net, p. 2.

[203] Stallins, Barbara (2008): “The US-China-Latin America Triangle: Implications for the Future,” in China’s Expansion into the Western Hemisphere, Riordan Roett and Guadalupe Paz, eds. (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2008).

[204]Gallagher, Kevin P. (2016), op. cit., p. 167.

[205] Ibid., p. 168.

[206] Ibid., p. 191.

[207] Gallagher, Kevin (2017): “Will China gain from a US withdrawal in Latin America?”. Article published by The Diplomat magazine. Date: 25th February, 2017.

http://thediplomat.com/2017/02/will-china-gain-from-a-us-withdrawal-in-latin-america/

[208] Ellis, R. Evan (2012): “The United States, Latin America and China: A ‘triangular relationship’?”. Working paper for Inter-American Dialogue organization, p. 7.

[209] Ellis, R. Evan (2016), op. cit.,p. 428-429.

[210] Ibid., p. 493.

[211] Ibid., p. 494.

[212]Personal interview conducted for this thesis in March, 2017. See details in the “References” section.

[213] Kissinger, Henry (2011): “On China”. Published by Penguin Press, p. 10.

[214]Sevares, Julio (2015), op. cit.,p. 110.

[215]Oviedo, Eduardo (2010): “Historia de las Relaciones Internacionales entre Argentina y China, 1945-2010”. Published by Editorial Dunken.

[216] Sevares, Julio (2015), op. cit.

[217] Ibid.

[218] Ibid., p. 111.

[219]Oviedo, Eduardo (2010), op. cit.

[220] Ibid.

[221]Sevares, Julio (2015), op. cit., p. 113.

[222] Ibid.

[223] Cardozo, Gustavo (2007): “China y Argentina en la política bilateral, 1989-2006”. Article published by Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales (Argentina).

[224] Cesarin, Sergio (2007): “China-Argentina: reflexiones a 35 años del establecimiento de relaciones diplomáticas”. Article published by Centro Argentino de Estudios Internacionales (Argentina).

[225]Malena, Jorge; Ramón Berjano, Carola and Velloso, Miguel (2015), op. cit., p. 25.

[226]Sevares, Julio (2015), op. cit., p. 117.

[227] “China, Argentina sign co-op agreements”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 29th June, 2004.http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-06/29/content_343579.htm

[228]Sevares, Julio (2015), op. cit., p. 119.

[229]Ibid., p. 120.

[230] Malena, Jorge; Ramón Berjano, Carola and Velloso, Miguel (2015), op. cit., p. 28-29.

[231]Ibid., p. 15.

[232]Xu, Yanran (2016), op. cit., p. 16.

[233] “China, Argentina upgrade ties to comprehensive strategic partnership”. Article published by Xinhua News. Date: 19th July, 2014.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-07/19/c_133494807.htm

[234] Dussel Peters, op. cit., p.13.

[235] “China, Argentina agree on work for new nuclear power plants”. Article published by Daily Mail. Date: 4th February, 2015.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-2939625/China-Argentina-agree-work-new-nuclear-power-plants.html

[236] “Argentine presidential candidates question deals with China”. Article published by Diálogo Chino. Date: 27th May, 2015.

http://dialogochino.net/argentine-presidential-candidates-question-deals-with-china/

[237] “Argentina and China reaffirm strategic relation and agree to review contracts”. Article published by Merco Press. Date: 2nd April, 2016.

http://en.mercopress.com/2016/04/02/argentina-and-china-reaffirm-strategic-relation-and-agree-to-review-contracts

[238] Ibid.

[239] “China builds Space-Monitoring base in the Americas”. Article published by The Diplomat magazine. Date: 24th May, 2016.

http://thediplomat.com/2016/05/china-builds-space-monitoring-base-in-the-americas/

[240] “Wang Yi holds talks with Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra of Argentina”. Article published by China Daily. Date: 19th May, 2016.http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1365601.shtml

[241]“Un informe ambiental avaló el acuerdo con China para construir represas en Santa Cruz”.Article published by Infobae (Argentina). Date: 9th May, 2017.

http://www.infobae.com/politica/2017/05/08/un-informe-ambiental-avalo-el-acuerdo-con-china-para-construir-represas-en-santa-cruz/

[242] “Los acuerdos firmados con China estarán en marcha en un año”. Article published by La Nación (Argentina). Date: 18th May, 2017.

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/2024864-los-acuerdos-firmados-con-china-estaran-en-marcha-en-un-ano

[243] Ibid.

[244]Ibid.

[245] “China, Argentina pledge to strengthen bilateral ties”. Article published in Xinhua News. Date: 17th May, 2017. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-05/17/c_136292648.htm

[246] Ibid.

[247]“Futuro incierto: la relación con China en la era Trump”,op. cit.

[248]Ibid.

[249] Ibid.

[250] Personal interview conducted for this thesis in March, 2017. See details in the “References” section.

[251] Ibid.

[252]Personal interview conducted for this thesis in March, 2017. See details in the “References” section.

[253] Ibid.

[254]“China, el gran desafío, delinea cómo será el futuro”. Interview with Horacio Busanello published by La Gaceta de Tucumán (Argentina). Date: 19th September, 2015.

http://www.lagaceta.com.ar/nota/654115/economia/china-gran-desafio-delinea-como-sera-futuro.html

[255]Ibid.

[256]Bolinaga, Luciano (2015): “El consenso de Beijing y la reprimarización productiva de América Latina: el caso argentino”. Paper published by “Revista Problemas del Desarrollo”, edition Nº 183 (Argentina), p. 54.

[257]Ibid., p. 55

[258]Castro, Jorge (2015): “China y la Argentina en el Siglo XXI: Economía, política y estrategia”. Published by Pluma Digital (Argentina), p. 2.

[259] Ibid.

[260]Ray, Rebecca and Gallagher, Kevin (2017), op. cit., p.2-9.

 

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