Brazil’s Lula Is Expected To Join the Belt and Road Initiative During His April Summit with China’s Xi Jinping
April 3, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Brazilian online website Metrópoles reported yesterday that Brazilian President Lula da Silva (in Portugese) will most likely sign a Memorandum of Understanding on joining the Belt and Road Initiative, when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on April 14. According to the April 1 column by Rodrigo Rangel, high-level sources in the Brazilian government report that Lula will do this, and the event will be announced “with pomp and circumstance,” even though it will “offend the U.S.”
“Joining the New Silk Road is one of the points which China put on the negotiating table of agreements to be announced by Lula and Xi Jinping,” Rangel reported, noting that the entire subject is being handled with great secrecy by a handful of top advisers to Lula. The issue is highly sensitive “because of its potential to damage Brazil’s good relations with the United States, especially in these times of fierce global polarization.”
Lula has shifted Brazil’s policy back towards the BRICS, with former Foreign Minister and current Presidential adviser on international affairs Celso Amorim playing a key role in that policy, Rangel writes in his regular column. “Lula wants to bet on that front,” and his naming of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to head the BRICS New Development Bank was meant to signal that policy.
Rangel reports that there are sectors in Itamaraty, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry, that oppose Lula’s BRICS/China turn, considering it an “anti-American, leftist” approach, “but those same circles recognize, however, that strengthening relations with China could help the country unblock its economy,” including by attracting significant new investments.
“If Brazil’s entry [into the BRI] is confirmed, which will probably only be known when Lula is in China, the tendency is for one of the priorities to be dusting off the old plan for connecting the Brazilian coast with the Pacific coast with highways and railroads—something which is clearly of great interest to the Chinese, given the benefits it would bring to the flow of goods with Asia.”