BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping will embark next week on a trip to Latin America that will include visits to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday.
President Xi will first go to Brazil, where he will participate in the BRICS summit which includes leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, to be held on July 14-16 in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.
During his stay in Brazil, the Chinese leader will also meet his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff.
On July 17, Xi will attend the first summit of leaders from China, Brazil and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), integrated by Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador and a member of the Caribbean Community.
After the summit, Xi is expected to travel to Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba, where he will hold meetings with the leaders of these countries before bringing his tour to a close on July 23.
Earlier this year, in April, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, visited these countries to prepare President Xi’s trip, his second to the region since he assumed power in March 2013.
Last year, Xi traveled to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago before heading to the U.S., where he had his first meeting with President Barack Obama in California.
Ever since the new Chinese leadership came to power, Beijing has highlighted the importance of Latin America, a region with a thriving economy but with bilateral trade that is still below its potential.
Exports from Latin America to China have mainly been food products and raw materials, but the countries of the region are aiming to diversify to include higher value-added goods and attract more Chinese investment.
Xi has already met several Latin American leaders such as the presidents of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, Peru, Ollanta Humala, and Uruguay, Jose Mujica, as well as former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.
He has also hosted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales in Beijing.