Argentina cutting Brazil, China ties would be ‘big mistake:’ Beijing

Beijing, Nov 21 (EFE).- China’s foreign ministry said Tuesday that it would be a “big mistake” for Argentina to cut ties with countries the likes of Brazil and China, a possibility suggested in recent months by their President-elect Javier Milei and some of his collaborators.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mao Ning responded to recent statements to Russian agency Sputnik by Milei’s Foreign Policy Advisor Diana Mondino, who said they would stop interfering with the government of Brazil and China.”

Mao said there are “discrepancies” about the meaning of Mondino’s words, adding that “no country can separate diplomatic relations from the development of economic and commercial cooperation.

Mao said in a press conference that “China is Argentina’s second trading partner and the first export market for its agricultural products.”

“The two sides have strong economic complementarity and great potential for cooperation,” the spokeswoman added.

“The relationship with both countries – in reference to China and Brazil – will be excellent as it should be”, but that “we must distinguish what the Government is from what the State is,” Mondino said according to Sputnik.

China congratulated Milei on Monday and said it remained willing to work with Argentina to “continue the friendship between the two countries.”

Two years ago, Milei said he “would not do business with China” and stated that cutting relations with the country “would not be a macroeconomic tragedy.”

In August, China said it recommended Milei to “visit” the nation and “observe,” after the ultra-liberal candidate said people in the country “are not free.”

Milei’s position with respect to China contrasts with that of his rival Sergio Massa, who traveled in June as Argentine economy minister to Beijing, where he said Argentina considered the country a highly relevant economic and commercial partner, and spoke of its willingness to strengthen cooperation.

Beijing and Buenos Aires have maintained good relations in recent years. Argentina joined the New Silk Roads last year, China’s main international economic initiative to consolidate its influence through infrastructure, although it remains to be seen if this will continue through the new government.

China has investments in Argentina in strategic areas such as infrastructure and mining, in addition to an agreement through which Buenos Aires pays Beijing for exports in yuan and not dollars.

Numerous Chinese companies have their sights set on Argentina, especially in the agricultural sector and natural resources such as lithium, a fundamental material for China’s electric car industry and of which Argentina is the world’s fourth largest producer. EFE


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