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Special> Chinese President Xi Jinping's Visit to Latin America to Include BRICS Summit> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: June 8, 2013 NO. 24 JUNE 13, 2013
The Latin Lineup
Strengthening cooperation brings opportunities for China and Latin American countries
By Ding Ying

CARIBBEAN ENCOUNTERS: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar attend the commencement ceremony for a children's hospital in Couva on June 1 (RAO AIMIN)

Distance is no longer a barrier to improving relations between countries. China and Latin American nations now have an opportunity to cooperate in a wider scope.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent trip to Latin America presented an ideal moment to enhance China's relationships with countries in the region. Observers believe that this visit will create momentum for the development of China-Latin America relations.

Thoughtful planning

Xi conducted a three-nation Latin America tour to Trinidad Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico from May 31 to June 6. It was the Chinese president's second tour abroad since assuming office in March. China has shown pronounced enthusiasm toward the region, intending to further build the China-Latin America relationship in the future.

Chen Xiangyang, a researcher on international political studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, pointed out that China and Latin America have both shown a stronger interest in one another alongside improving political trust, trade and economic cooperation in recent years. "The prospect of China-Latin America cooperation is encouraging and promising," said Chen.

Chinese observers said that each of the three Latin American countries hold great significance for China.

Xi is the first Chinese president to visit Trinidad and Tobago and English-speaking Caribbean countries. "President Xi's visit to Trinidad and Tobago will enhance not only the bilateral relationship, but also practical cooperation between China and other Caribbean countries," Chen predicted.

Trinidad and Tobago established diplomatic relations with China in 1974, and the bilateral political relationship has been stable ever since, while their economic connection has been strengthening.

"Trinidad and Tobago is a very influential and representative Caribbean nation to China. It can be considered a leader of the Caribbean. The Chinese president's recent visit will vigorously drive China's friendly cooperation with the whole Caribbean region," said Xu Shicheng, a researcher on Latin American studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). He added that Trinidad and Tobago's capital, Port of Spain, is home to the Association of Caribbean States' headquarters. Moreover, the country will be the rotating chair state of the Caribbean Community from July 1 to December 31.

During his visit, Xi also met with leaders of several more nations in the region, including Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname and Jamaica. Such an arrangement was based on Trinidad and Tobago's special influence in the Caribbean area, and showed China's strong desire to boost relations with all these countries.

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