Chinese President Hu Jintao made seven ambassadorial appointments yesterday, according to a statement from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress—with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Jinzhang filling the post of ambassador to Brazil. Jinzhang, who spoke with AQ for the Spring 2011 issue, said at the time that “the potential for growth in cooperation and trade is huge” with Latin America.
The choice of Li Jinzhang is significant to Brazil, China’s fellow BRIC country, as Jinzhang has occupied many diplomatic posts related to South America, and was also director of the Latin American Affairs Department at China’s foreign ministry. In his AQ interview, Jinzhang highlighted three policy goals for the People’s Republic in Latin America: promoting mutual respect and trust to expand common ground; deepening cooperation and achieving “win-win” results; and boosting common progress and intensifying exchanges.
The newest issue of Americas Quarterly shows that China has supplanted the United States as Brazil’s largest export destination. As ambassador, Li Jinzhang will oversee a growing Brazil–China relationship. In 2010, Chinese state-owned enterprises made significant investment in Brazilian firms, acquiring a 40 percent stake of oil giant Repsol YPF Brasil S.A. and a 100 percent stake of electricity company Expansión Transmissão Itumbiara.