China’s President Xi Jinping is set to visit Latin America for a diplomatic tour Wednesday, hoping to strengthen ties with the nations within the region and attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, meeting in Peru.
Xi will first arrive in Ecuador to meet President Rafael Correa before traveling to meet Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru. He will then attend an APEC leaders meeting in Lima from Nov. 19 to 20, before heading to Chile with President Michelle Bachelet.
The visit will mark Xi’s third to Latin America and his first visit to Ecuador.
Ecuador, Peru and Chile are the largest economic trading partners with China within Latin America. Chile has had the longest diplomatic relationship with China within South America and was the first to sign a free trade agreement with China.
China has recently grown more prominent within Latin America and experts say that Xi will use the visit to increase multilateral and bilateral ties in the region. China is the second biggest trading partner and third biggest investor in Latin America, while Latin America is China's seventh largest trading partner in the world.
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"China looks forward to deepening cooperation with Latin America so as to promote the economic recovery and prosperity of the world," said deputy foreign trade representative Zhang Xiangchen to Chinese government media outlet Xinhua.
“China has become our main customer and largest training partner … We now have a lot more investment in the Asia-Pacific than before. Last year we received US$8 billion of investment, with much more trade,” said Peru’s Second Vice President Mercedes Araoz to Xinhua on Tuesday.
APEC leaders and ministers are set to discuss recent concerns over globalization and trade policy.
“The aim is to expand economic opportunities for groups that have reaped fewer benefits from open, integrated markets in the past, improving growth and living standards for the 3 billion people of a region that accounts for half of trade and 60 per cent of GDP worldwide,” reads a statement from APEC.
APEC includes 21 nations from the Asia-Pacific region, representing around 57 percent of global GDP. Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama will also attend the summit as his last diplomatic visit to Latin America.