BEIJING – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said on Sunday that her country is ready to become the bridge between Asia and Latin America, and one of the protagonists of the new infrastructure plan powered by the Chinese government.
At a time of protectionist challenges in the world and weak global growth, it is the right time to seek new horizons, Bachelet said in her address to world leaders at the ongoing Belt and Road forum in Beijing.
Nearly 30 leaders are meeting in China, at the Belt and Road forum which was inaugurated Sunday, to discuss China’s new initiative to boost connectivity and investment in infrastructure in Asia and other regions in the world.
The Belt and Road initiative led by the Chinese President Xi Jinping is the biggest economic project being discussed at the moment, said Bachelet, thanking China for its efforts for bridging the gaps between the countries.
In the Chilean leader’s opinion, in the last decade, Asia and Latin America have become more interlinked. Chile must be the frontrunner in strengthening these ties.
However, Bachelet said Chile is not the only country with such an interest and highlighted the efforts being made in Latin America through groups such as the Alliance of the Pacific, among others.
Her address at the forum comes after a day after Chile announced its incorporation to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral organization created by Beijing as a financial tool for its ambitious project.
Bachelet said Chile’s participation in the organization will help carry out some of the initiatives to connect Asia with Latin America, such as a trans-pacific cable proposed by her government to improve digital connections or Atlantic-Pacific interoceanic corridors.
“At a time of growing skepticism, this forum is an opportunity to look beyond,” reiterated the Chilean president before Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.