BEIJING – Argentine President Cristina Fernandez was received on Wednesday by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao as she continued a state visit that has already produced an offer from Beijing to provide advanced technology for Argentina’s planned fourth nuclear power plant.
Before the talks with Wen, Fernandez told reporters that she felt very satisfied with her meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other senior officials.
After meeting with Communist Party Politburo member Zhou Yongkang, Fernandez said that “everything is going very well” and the accords reached would benefit both countries “since we complement one another.”
“Argentina is not only important in and of itself, but also as a springboard for Latin America,” she emphasized.
On Tuesday, Argentine Planning Minister Julio de Vido and the president of China National Nuclear Corp., Mao Xiaoming, agreed to an exchange of visits given the interest of the CNNC in becoming a possible provider of technology for Argentina’s next nuclear power plant.
In the opinion of experts consulted Wednesday in Beijing, this would be a development of great geopolitical significance since China has made public only its civilian nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, although it is rumored that the Asian giant has also aided North Korea and perhaps Ukraine in that area.
Companies from Canada, South Korea, Russia, Japan and France have expressed an interest in bidding on the project in Argentina.
The decision will be made in the first half of 2011, Planning Ministry spokesman Horacio Mizrahi told Efe.
China has 11 nuclear reactors in coastal areas and forecasts that it will increase this figure to 100 over the next 20 years, “equaling the current level of the United States,” to respond to the energy demands expected to be posed by its continuing industrialization.
The deal being worked on with Argentina represents about $3 billion for a country that gets 6.8 percent of its electricity from nuclear power and which the Fernandez administration wants to raise to 21.1 percent by 2025.
In the joint declaration signed on Tuesday, Presidents Fernandez and Hu agreed on the need to promote the growth and diversification of bilateral trade “paying special attention to broadening the exchange of products of greater value added and technological complexity.” EFE