Several international exchange events between China and Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries took place in September. They were launched to promote dialogue between civilizations—an overarching term that encompasses material, cultural and intellectual development in a society.
During a forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a media and think tank league was launched, with founding members coming from China, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru. The China-Brazil Forum for Exchange and Mutual Learning was held in São Paulo, Brazil, unveiling a report on mutual understanding between Gen Z in both countries.
China and LAC countries have a long history of engagement, from Fu Yunlong, a Chinese envoy who visited LAC countries including Peru and Brazil in the late 19th century to Flora Botton Beja, a Mexican professor and Sinologist who has recently won the prestigious inaugural Orchid Award for her contributions to cultural exchange between China and Mexico.
By the end of 2022, 46 Confucius Institutes had been established in LAC countries. Confucius Institutes, named after ancient Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius (551-479 B.C.), are nonprofit public institutions that help people overseas better understand China by teaching Chinese language and culture at host universities around the world.
Culture, of course, is only part of the story. In the past decade, China has been the LAC region's second largest trading partner. In 2022, their total trade volume reached a new record, exceeding $450 billion for the second consecutive year. This year marks the 10th anniversary of China's proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to promote connectivity along and beyond ancient Silk Road routes. Twenty-two of the 28 LAC countries that have diplomatic relations with China have signed agreements on Belt and Road cooperation.
In keeping with the principles of peace, cooperation, inclusiveness, and mutual benefit, China-LAC ties have made strides across the board. Now is the best time ever for them to conduct inter-civilizational dialogue. They can exchange ideas on a wide range of issues such as traditional culture, modern civilization, hi-tech and ecological progress, and domestic and global governance. Mutual understanding will go a long way toward ensuring successes in the increasingly diverse partnerships between China and LAC countries.