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Brazil’s Lula Begins an Upbeat Trip to China with an Ambitious Cooperation Agenda

April 12, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived in Shanghai, China today for the first leg of his state visit which will culminate on April 14 in Beijing when he meets with President Xi Jinping. At that meeting, the two are expected to sign 20 bilateral agreements in a number of areas. There has been much anticipation about the visit, which was postponed from the original March 28 date due to Lula’s illness, but is now proceeding with a packed schedule of meetings with top government officials and with CEOs of companies that want to invest in Brazil. Interviews are also planned with prominent Chinese media CGTN and CCTV.

Lula set the tone for his trip in comments he’s made over the past week or so describing the relationship he wants to have with China and what role he would like it to play in helping to develop Brazil. In remarks to journalists April 6, he specified that he doesn’t want China to come in to buy up Brazil’s existing assets but “to create new assets.” Its investments will be “marvelously welcomed,” he said, because China builds things and that’s what Brazil needs.

In a pre-trip interview April 10 with the “A Voz do Brasil” (The Voice of Brazil) TV program, transmitted from the presidential palace Planalto, Lula elaborated. He said he’d like to invite Xi to visit Brazil so he can see first-hand exactly what the country has and what it needs.

“We’re going to consolidate our relationship with China and I’m going to invite Xi Jinping to see Brazil, to learn about Brazil in a bilateral meeting, to show him the projects that interest us—what we want to build in partnership with the Chinese ... so they can invest in things that don’t yet exist—a new highway, railroad, hydroelectric dam, anything that means something new for Brazil.”

In remarks that made the White House very nervous, Lula also emphasized that China “is essential now for Brazil and Latin America.” He emphasized that he intends to have a very strong foreign policy and wants “to create an external political front.... Brazil has to be an international protagonist.” It is widely reported that Brazil will also join the Belt and Road Initiative, but that has yet to be officially confirmed.

A highlight of Lula’s stay in Shanghai will be the April 13 investiture of former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as the president of the BRICS New Development Bank. Following that ceremony, Lula will meet privately with representatives of the five BRICS countries who will be attending.

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