President Alberto Fernández has rounded up the Chinese stop of his new international tour by arranging Argentina's entry into the Belt and the Silk Road which will represent financing in excess of US $ 23 billion for the South American country.
I had a cordial, friendly and fruitful meeting with Xi Jinping, President of China, after which we agreed to incorporate Argentina into the Belt and the Silk Road, Fernández said on social media.
It is excellent news. Our country will obtain more than US$ 23 billion from Chinese investments for works and projects, he added.
The understanding was made official during the bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People through the signing of Memoranda of Understanding and agreements in different areas between the two heads of state.
Argentina has thus joined the 140 countries already included in China's international trade initiative. With this strategic decision, the national government will sign different agreements that guarantee financing for investments and works for more than 23,700 million dollars, generating a new milestone in the bilateral relationship that has been significantly expanded and strengthened in the last 15 years, Casa Rosada sources pointed out.
The financing is to be delivered in two stages: one worth US $ 14 billion which has already been approved under the mechanism of the Strategic Dialogue for Economic Cooperation and Coordination and another deal for US $ 9.7 billion to be handled by an ad-hoc group created by the two countries in order to manage joint operations ahead, particularly those linked to the Silk Road, it was announced.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, for its acronym) seeks to promote cooperation and connectivity between more than 140 countries through two main components: one of a land nature (the Silk Road Economic Belt) and a transoceanic leg (the “Maritime Silk Road”).
Other 13 cooperation documents were signed between Fernández and Xi regarding green development, digital economy, space, technology and innovation, education and university cooperation, agriculture, earth sciences, public media and nuclear energy.
Fernández also asked Xi to promote Argentina's entry into the BRICS, the group of emerging economies made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, something the South American leader had already discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his stop in Moscow.
It was also reported that, regarding swaps and the so-called SDRs (Special Drawing Rights sent by the IMF), Xi said he will instruct his banks to make progress on these two issues. In the joint statement signed during the meeting, China expressed its firm support to Argentina in its efforts to preserve economic and financial stability during negotiations with the IMF.
China's decision to encourage greater use of national currencies in trade and investment and to support Argentina's demand for a review of the IMF's surcharge policy are crucial advances, Fernández highlighted in a post meeting statement.
The Xi-Fernández meeting marked the 50th anniversary of bilateral ties betreen the two countries, in memory of which the two presidents launched the Year of Friendly Cooperation, according to the joint statement issued after the meeting.
Chinese media also highlighted Fernández was in Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, which have been boycotted by most Western powers citing human rights violations allegedly going on in Chinese territory.
Argentina and China have also agreed to carry out a series of activities throughout the year to continuously enhance mutual understanding and friendship between their people and deepen exchanges and cooperation at the local level, according to the statement.
The document also pointed out that China and Argentina reiterate their continuous firm support for each other on issues concerning their respective sovereign interests, it said.
Argentina reaffirms its adherence to the one-China principle, whereas China reaffirms its support for Argentina's demand for the full exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands and its support for an early resumption of negotiations in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions for a peaceful settlement of the dispute, the bilateral statement also pointed out.
According to the statement, China and Argentina agree to carry on with close communication and coordination in international affairs, and safeguard the overall interests of the two countries and other developing countries.
Argentina supported the China-proposed Global Development Initiative, said the statement, adding the two sides stress the importance of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both countries also praised the importance of G20 as the main forum for international economic cooperation, and agreed to continue to strengthen coordination in such areas of common concern as health, finance and trade.
China also congratulated President Fernández on Argentina's appointment to the rotating presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and offered to actively support the South American country in fulfilling its duties, the statement read. China also China appreciated Argentina's important role in regional affairs and its efforts to promote regional integration and expand cooperation with other regions.
Speaking highly of the success of the Third Ministerial Meeting of the China-CELAC Forum, the two sides pledge to jointly and continuously deepen China-Latin America relations in the new era featuring equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness and tangible benefits for the people, said the statement.
Before leaving China, Fernández paid a visit to a Huawei plant and told Xi that had he been an Argentine citizen, he would be a Peronist
According to press reports, Xi held meetings with numerous world leaders attending the opening ceremony of the Winter Games which lasted around 20 minutes each, but spent over an hour with Fernández.
Xi told the Argentine leader he had listened with interest his speech in July last year delivered virtually at the Summit of the Communist Party of China and the Political Parties of the World.
Fernández stressed how Peronism in Argentina had always tried to make a more industrialized country, with income distribution, and with more strength of the working class, but time and again a military coup undid whichever progress had been achieved just like former President Mauricio Macri had done with the IMF loan.
Fernández and his entourage left for Madrid for a stopover on his way to Barbados, the last stop of the presidential tour.