Argentina news- Why China will target Buenos Aires as key ally in Latin America

Latin America

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s astonishing primary win in Argentina earlier this month sparked fears that Buenos Aires could be set to carry out a ‘land grab’ of the Falkland Islands. While this appears unlikely due to Argentina’s constitution and Ms de Kirchner’s attitude towards the disputed region, concerns have now arisen in Washington over Argentina’s growing relationship with China. With Russia already looking to court allies in the region, China could exert their own control in Buenos Aires to further isolate Trump.

Dr Daniel Ozarow, author of “The Mobilization and Demobilization of Middle-Class Revolt: Comparative Insights from Argentina”, told Express.co.uk that China has been economically tied with Argentina for a while, and that it looks set to continue.

He said: “China enjoyed a good relationship with the previous government.

“It had a lot of financial interest in the country.

“Historically, Beijing invested quite heavily in Argentina, whether it be the infrastructure or simply giving other loans.”

Under President Macri’s neoliberal regime, Chinese foreign investment was limited compared to Ms de Kirchner’s tenure from 2007 to 2015.

Beijing had been focused on governing open land in Argentina to cultivate resources and food production during her time in office.

Ms de Kirchner approved $15billion in loans, including the renovation of the Belgrano Railway and the construction of two hydroelectric dams.

China was allowed to construct a space station in return.

This appears to have been welcomed by Argentinian citizens, 80 percent of whom view Chinese investments as positive for the country according to a recent survey by Argentina Pulse.

READ MORE: Argentina elections: Why taking Falkland Islands by force is not on agenda

“I imagine there will be a consistency in relationship there with China [under the new government].

“Of course, with China, it’s just about financial interest – it’s not ideological.

“They’ve got no interest in spreading their political project.”

His words were echoed by Latin America analysts Benjamin Gedan and Emma Sarfity, who suggested that Argentina has never really moved away from China, even under Macri.

They wrote for The Global Americans: “Argentina did pivot toward the United States, but barely inched away from China.

“Burdened with vast infrastructure needs, a large budget deficit and scant US lending, Macri eagerly welcomed Chinese support.

“When Trump’s spokeswoman said the two presidents had discussed ‘predatory Chinese economic activity,’ Argentina’s foreign minister personally disavowed the White House description of the meeting.

“Should Alberto Fernández win the presidency, [Ms de Kirchner] would bring with her not only admiration for Beijing and a legendary appetite for Chinese loans, but also a history of rocky ties with Washington.”

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