Home World The country 10,790 miles from China that's turned to Xi Jinping as...

The country 10,790 miles from China that's turned to Xi Jinping as a 'last resort lender'

The fifth-largest country in South America has turned to an unlikely ally to support its economy and boost international trade.

Bolivia first started pursuing diplomatic ties with China in 1985 before expanding agreements to include deals on military cooperation, education and infrastructure.

Relations between the two nations, which are separated by more than 10,700 miles, have grown increasingly stronger in recent years and are part of Beijing’s efforts to strengthen its presence abroad to challenge its main commercial opponent, the United States

Over the years, China has fostered growing influence over the media, business and political sectors across several Latin American countries.

Since the early 2000s, the People’s Republic of China has invested more than £126 million ($150 million) in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Bolivia in 2023 adopted the Chinese yuan to pay for its imports and began to accept payments for exports in the foreign currency.

Financial issues stemming from decades of economic uncertainty have left La Paz unable to maintain sufficient reserves in dollars – turning to Xi Jinping’s China to serve as a “lender of last resort.”

Bolivian Foreign Minister Celinda Sosa Lunda earlier this year insisted her country wanted to further expand cooperation with Beijing as the countries approach the 40th anniversary of the start of their cooperation.

A statement from the Bolivian Foreign Ministry following Ms Sosa’s meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in April highlighted La Paz and Beijing’s common commitment to pushing back on “intimidation” from external powers.

The press release read: “During the meeting it was highlighted that Bolivia and China share the same objectives, in addition to both opposing intimidation by powerful powers, advocating for equitable global multipolarity and inclusive economic globalisation.

“Within the framework of the People’s Diplomacy for Life, Bolivia advocates for the declaration of the world as a territory of peace, demanding respect for the sovereignty, non-interference and free self-determination of the peoples.”

China has been trying to woo Latin American nations into growing their partnership via its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, through which Beijing has increased investment in local communication, aerospace and military sectors.

Chinese state firms have become leading investors in the region and surpassed the United States as the main trading partner in the region.


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