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Brazil, Cuba, Panama, and Peru high-level meetings, Taiwan's support at the UNGA, and Chinese views on the crisis in Haiti
Hi! Welcome to Chaufa, a China-Western Hemisphere Newsletter by CPSI.
Today’s Edition covers September 18 to 24.
Quote of the day
This Week’s Top 5 Stories:
This week saw several high-level engagements across the region, including:
China’s Deputy Foreign Minister traveled to Panama, the highest-level Chinese visit since the pandemic.
Peruvian President Boluarte also met with Chinese VP Zheng to discuss the economy, trade, and investment at the UNGA.
Li Xi signed two MOUs with Cuban President Diaz-Canel on cooperation between their communist parties’ anti-corruption institutions.
During their UNGA floor speeches, all of Taiwan’s Latin American and Caribbean diplomatic allies except for Haiti voiced support for the country’s inclusion at the UN. (Focus Taiwan)
Like last year, Haiti’s leader did not mention Taiwan in his floor speech; instead, he focused on his country’s domestic issues.
China’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic argued that it was not yet time to support intervention in Haiti, and he said that the UN should undertake further deliberation before a decision is made.
Suriname’s president said in an interview with Bloomberg that he expected to conclude debt restructuring negotiations with China by November.
The Auditor General of Barbados issued a report warning about financial irregularities regarding funds from the Chinese Export-Import Bank for a luxury hotel. A government minister denied the allegations.
The UN, Taiwan, and the Limitations of Voice…
It’s no secret that Taiwan won’t be joining the United Nations anytime soon — China’s influence and institutional heft in the organization will prevent that until broader cross-strait issues are resolved.
That does not mean the speeches backing Taipei’s inclusion are entirely irrelevant. They tangibly show that countries outside the G7 back Taiwan, furthering the country’s international space. Moreover, they bring attention to the issue in front of an audience of international political elites that likely would rather ignore the Taiwan Strait altogether.
However, voicing support for Taiwan is unimportant in one critical regard: it is a poor predictor of whether a country will soon break ties with Beijing. To take the last two examples, Nicaragua voiced support for the ROC just months before it broke ties, while Honduras declined to defend Taiwan at the UNGA for seven years (and across two presidential administrations) before recognizing the PRC this year.1 Just because a Caribbean or Latin American leader said it hoped Taiwan could join the United Nations this year doesn’t mean they won’t be shaking hands with Xi Jinping in 2024.
Politics and security
The Chairman of China’s National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee met with the President of the Central American Parliament to formally make the PRC a permanent observer to the regional parliament in place of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan. (Xinhua)
During a high-level UN dialogue, Mexican Foreign Minister Bárcena affirmed that her government was in close contact with China to prevent the trade of fentanyl precursors.
Trade and technology
Following President Maduro’s recent trip to Beijing, it was announced that China would allow Venezuela to export avocados and coffee, as well as advance a special economic zone through a twinning arrangement between Anzoátegui and Monagas states with the province of Shandong.
The PRC’s ambassador met with La Guaira’s governor to discuss advancing special economic zones through a partnership with Shenzhen. (VTV)
Colombia’s agriculture ministry also announced that it the country had received permission to begin exporting beef to China. (Radio Nacional)
A Shanghai delegation visited the Dominican Republic to hold an Economic and Trade Cooperation Dialogue and discuss trade and investment.
Panama’s agriculture minister traveled to China, where he signed an MOU with the Agricultural University of Southern China.
Investment, finance, and infrastructure
Honduras’s foreign minister mentioned in an interview with VOA that he was looking for foreign, including Chinese, support to build six new hydroelectric dams in his country, while in another interview with Sputnik, he mentioned that his country would use its CELAC presidency to promote closer ties with China.
China donated $114 million to Cuba for a new 5MW solar park in Holguín.
Venezuela’s government announced that an unspecified Chinese company would help modernize the country’s electrical grid. (ZBR)
The Taiwanese foreign ministry addressed the ongoing regional political crises:
Following recent claims that a loan to St. Lucia was improperly transferred to a private account, Taiwan’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying the $20 million loan was delivered transparently. (The Voice)
St. Vincent’s agriculture minister traveled to Taiwan to meet with senior officials and technical institutions. (St. Vincent Times)
Culture and society
CGTN and Argentina’s culture ministry co-hosted an event on cultural exchange between China and the South American country. (Gobierno de Argentina)
A new Confucius Institute was installed at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil. (UFBA)
Analysis and Opinion
Writing in the Caracas Chronicles, Parsifal D'Sola Alvarado argues that despite Maduro’s recent trip to Beijing, China will not save Venezuela’s economy. However, recent SEZ engagement (see above) could be a low-risk opportunity for Chinese businesses looking to expand into the broader Caribbean market.
Alex Colville wrote about China’s ongoing economic relationship with Trinidad and Tobago for the China Project, discussing ongoing projects like the dry dock, industrial park, and Huawei’s presence.
The Jamaica Gleaner ran an editorial supporting the Prime Minister’s plan to navigate a path between China and the United States by refraining from isolating Beijing while avoiding heavy debt burdens from the PRC.
That’s it for now! See you next week.
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