U.S. Opposition Won’t Stop Brazil from Strengthening Ties with China
April 3, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Biden administration has trumpeted its opposition to Brazil strengthening its ties with China. According to the Argentine edition of the daily La Política Online on April 2, Secretary of State Tony Blinken let Brasilia know that the U.S. opposed President Lula da Silva’s upcoming trip to China and even threatened not to contribute $400 million toward reforestation of the Amazon. Even though Lula had to postpone his original trip last month due to illness, he quickly rescheduled his visit for April 11-15, during which he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 14 and will be present on April 13 at former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s investiture as president of the BRICS New Development Bank.
Professor Javier Vadell (in Portugese) of the Pontifical University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, is quoted in the La Política Online article, “Lula Strengthens Ties with China and Raises Tension with U.S.,” pointing to the importance of Brazil’s recent agreement with China to carry out trade in Chinese yuan and Brazilian reais, which he described not as putting an end to the dollar system but rather a process of “de-monopolization which is gradual to the degree that confidence in the U.S. currency is lost.” The other key aspect of this, he said, is that it authorizes Brazil’s Bank of Communications to implement the CIPS, which is China’s version of the SWIFT international financial transaction system, to facilitate payment without having to go through the system controlled by the U.S. Vadell notes that, due to the Ukraine war, both China and Russia use the CIPS, as do a growing number of African and Asian nations.
Brazil also angered Washington by its refusal to sign the document attacking Russia at the White House “Summit for Democracy,” Vadell reported—unlike Argentina, he said, which agreed to freeze billion-dollar agreements with China in exchange for IMF backing. Additionally, Lula’s chief foreign policy adviser, Celso Amorim, a former Foreign Minister, is reportedly on his way to Russia to try to facilitate a negotiated solution to the Ukraine war. Lula’s proposal to form a “club of peace” is key here.
Professor Vadell believes China will succeed in building stronger ties with Brazil, Argentina and all of the countries of the Mercosur, or Common Market of the South—including Paraguay, which currently doesn’t recognize China, but whose new government following the April 30 presidential elections might well break with Taiwan and endorse the One China policy.
The U.S. is unhappy about all of this, Vadell reported, but Washington is going to lose in its attempt to stop China. “It is losing, as happened with Honduras which just recognized China; and it is losing when a neoliberal government like Ecuador, is about to close a free-trade agreement” with China.
Vadell: “There is a new world center that isn’t Western, which is China and that whole region which is the most dynamic in the world. The problem is that the U.S. doesn’t offer international public goods. It pressures Brazil not to use Huawei technology, but offers nothing in return—only sanctions.”