On his second trip abroad since taking office, Chinese President Xi Jinping began his tour of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago today. He will also visit Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States as Vice President Biden finishes his own Latin American tour.
On this trip, the Chinese president will meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Mexico and China are the two biggest suppliers of manufactured goods to the United States. He is also expected to discuss oil exploration in Trinidad and Tobago and to open up talks with Central America, a region with which China has historically experienced diplomatic strain because most Central American countries maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
While China has increased its interest and trade presence in Latin America, Enrique Dussel, rector of the Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, believes that the United States’ continued presence and renewed interest in Latin America will limit Chinese influence in the region and create a “triangular relationship.” At the same time, Francisco Nieto Guerrero, director of Georgetown University’s Americas Global Project, believes that the current Chinese administration is prioritizing partnerships with Africa and Latin America because “China sees a great potential for its raw materials and growing markets.” He says that China’s approach to Latin America is a “more ambitious and very pragmatic.”
Mr. Xi is expected to meet with President Barack Obama at the Sunnylands Estate in California from June 7 to 8.