Chaufa - Party Ties
Argentina leaves the BRICS, a CCP delegation travels to the DR, new media agreements with Barbados, and Dominica's third PRC sister city
Hi! Welcome to Chaufa, a China-Western Hemisphere Newsletter by CPSI.
Today’s Edition covers November 27 to December 3.
This Week’s Top 5 Stories:
A CCP delegation led by the deputy head of the party’s international department met with senior government and Sandinista party officials in Nicaragua to discuss advancing the Chinese “model” in the Central American country. (El 19 Digital) (Canal de Orgullo)
Argentina’s president-elect announced that he would reverse President Fernandez’s decision to join the BRICS.
Buenos Aires had previously spent years attempting to join the group, with the BRICS finally offering an invitation this past August.
A special rapporteur found that support from the Chinese consulate in Toronto may have propelled Han Dong into the Canadian parliament, while two Chinese community centers sued the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for claiming that they were secret PRC police stations.
Xinhua News Agency, the PRC’s official news agency, signed media cooperation agreements with the Barbados Government Information Service and Argentina’s Telam news company. (Xinhua)
Argentine President Fernandez also awarded the president of the China Media Group with the Outstanding Achievement Award for International Cultural Exchanges and Cooperation. (CGTN)
Port of Spain’s mayor met with the Chinese Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago strengthen ties with Shanghai, while Dominica established its third Chinese sister city arrangement, with the St. Joseph constituency signing a partnership with Rencheng in Shandong.
Shanghai signed a sister-city arrangement with Port of Spain last November.
Party-to-party ties and Li Mingxiang
A Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official, Li Mingxiang (李明祥), traveled this week to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to meet with senior party and government officials. Meeting with party officials from two very different political systems – one descending into authoritarianism and the other a relatively free democracy – shows the variety of engagements the CCP takes in its interactions with other political parties in China’s unique political system.
Li might not be a household name, but he is a rising figure in the CCP’s internal apparatus. According to Baidu, after being raised in Shandong and earning law and public administration degrees, Li worked his way up the internal CCP hierarchy. He started in the International Liaison Department (ILD) he is now the vice chief of, but he also held stints in other departments like the general office and the cadre bureau. He also took a brief stint in the government, working as the deputy mayor of Gaobeidian City in Hebei Province.
Since becoming Assistant Minister of the CCP International Liaison Department in 2019 and Vice Minister of the department in December 2022, Li has taken a more prominent role in promoting party-to-party ties in the developing world, though much of his focus had previously been on sub-Saharan Africa. For example, Li virtually engaged with major political parties in Senegal, Gabon, and Ethiopia during the pandemic, traveled to Madagascar in 2021 to meet with the ruling party, and met with the ruling United Democratic Alliance in Kenya this past February. In Latin America, Li also traveled to Venezuela and Panama earlier this year.
Li’s recent interest in Latin America may suggest that he is shifting his career’s geographic focus or it may indicate renewed interest in the CCP towards the region. Either way, this party-to-party engagement aligns with the ILD’s broader mission of cultivating ties between the CCP and other political parties.
Politics and Society
Close ally of Venezuelan president Maduro and governor of Carabobo met with officials in Shanghai and reportedly said Venezuela “is in a transition, which has the Chinese model as a reference.”
During the trip, Rafael Lacava also signed an MOU with XCMG to build a heavy machinery manufacturing plant in his state.
Ambassador Zhang Run met with Sinoloa’s economy minister to discuss collaboration in infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, and citizen security with the Mexican state.
The governor of southwestern Colombian state of Valle del Cauca met with the Chinese ambassador during his first visit to the state to talk about renewable energy, education, and information exchanges.
PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Brazilian counterpart to discuss the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations and the Israel-Palestine conflict, while the deputy governor of Rio Grande do Sul traveled to China and signed agreements with a customs organization and the Harbin Electric Corporation. (People’s Daily)
The president of Honduras’s legislature will travel to China to meet with his counterpart at the National People’s Congress. (Xinhua)
Investment, finance, and infrastructure
Guyana’s labor ministry initiated an investigation into the death of a truck operator at Zijin’s northwestern Aurora gold mine.
The head of the Honduran National Investment Council said that Sunda International and Texhong, Chinese firms that specialize in construction and manufacturing respectively, are looking to make new investments.
El Salvador started construction on a new PRC-funded national stadium. (Xinhua)
A Panamanian court shut down a major copper mine owned by First Quantum Minerals, a Canadian firm partially owned by Jiangxi Copper.
A strike against Chinese firm MMG at its Las Bambas copper mine in Peru ended early after local labor officials determined the strike was improper, though tensions remain between the company and the union.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Trade and Industry Ministry permanent secretary visited the Chinese-built Phoenix Industrial Park for a celebration of PRC-based luggage manufacturer Summit’s first export from the Caribbean country.
Chile’s Institute of Agricultural Research unveiled a new cherry varietal with longer post-harvest life to better handle the long trip to China.
China will become Brazil’s largest corn export destination in 2023, helping the South American country reach a record trade surplus.
Guatemala’s congress ratified a basic cooperation agreement with Taiwan that had been signed earlier this spring.
Taiwan’s ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis, Michael Lin, wrote an op-ed for ZIZ on his country’s efforts to address climate change and why Taiwan ought to be able to participate in COP28.
Relatedly, Paraguay’s president called for Taiwan’s inclusion at COP28 during his speech at the conference.
A medical center in Tainan hosted a group of Belizean nurses for the second time to provide an 18-month training course, while Taiwan’s embassy supported the country’s anti-corruption month, in collaboration with UNDP, UNODC, the US Embassy.
Taiwan’s embassy in St. Lucia donated three Asus-built educational robots to a local secondary school.
Analysis and Opinion
Writing for the Inter-American Dialogue, Margaret Myers (among others) argued that APEC members like Peru and Mexico benefited from one-one-one meetings with Xi at the Leaders’ Summit in San Francisco.
The Financial Times editorial board wrote that in the face of nearshoring away from China, Mexico’s policies are squandering an economic opportunity for additional investment.
Sara Garcia found in Insight Crime that China’s plans to restrict the exports of fentanyl precursor chemicals could successfully reduce the fentanyl trade through Mexico, though she warns that a crackdown could lead cartels to switch to Indian chemical firms.
Lorena Baires suggests that increased media attention on Chinese investments in Central America overstates the PRC’s influence in the region for Dialogo Americas, while La Tribuna argued that Chinese influence expanding by the day across Central America.
The New York Times interviewed PRC nationals traveling across Latin America to investigate why more and more lower-middle class Chinese citizens are risking their lives to reach the U.S. southern border.
That’s it for now! See you next week.
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