Executive Intelligence Review


Foreign Minister Wang Yi Conducted Intensive Bilateral Diplomacy at the China-CELAC Forum

Jan. 24, 2018 (EIRNS)—In the two days prior to the official Jan. 22 plenary session of the China-CELAC Forum (CELAC is the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a series of bilateral meetings with foreign ministers from member countries, for more in-depth discussion about expanding economic, trade, investment cooperation and other ties, in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Wang Yi met with the Foreign Ministers of Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Caribbean nations which have diplomatic relations Venezuela, Cuba, as well as the current Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and incoming President Sebastian Pinera. Foreign Ministers of member countries that don’t currently have diplomatic relations with China, such as El Salvador, the current president pro tempore of CELAC, were extremely enthusiastic about the prospects of collaborating with China on the Belt and Road.

In meeting with Wang and a group of his aides, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray praised the China-CELAC Forum for advancing issues about which Mexico cares deeply and underscored China’s importance to the nations of the region. He asked Wang to deliver a personal message to President Xi Jinping in the name of the Mexican government and President Enrique Peña Nieto, expressing gratitude to China for promoting the region’s economic development.

Following his discussions with Wang Yi, an enthusiastic Costa Rican Foreign Minister Alejandro Solano told Xinhua that the Belt and Road Initiative is the “guiding star” to which “many of our countries that have a comprehensive cooperative relationship with China are looking.” The BRI, he said, offers an “important window of cooperation in multiple areas,” and Xi Jinping’s letter of congratulations to the Forum meeting, “establishes new possibilities of working with [the BRI] which, unlike the ancient Silk Road, can be accessible to Latin American and Caribbean nations.”

From those Caribbean ministers who met with Wang, Jamaica’s Foreign Minister said his country

“very much welcomes the Belt and Road Initiative ... we view it as a visionary plan, which could readily be combined with the natural development goals of countries within the region. We think the time is ripe.”

Barbados’s Foreign Minister added that “the extension of the BRI is critical for Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole.” Barbados is in “an excellent location for a hub.... We must recognize how we can function as a bridge and hub.”