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PRESS RELEASE


Great Potential for Ibero-America, Caribbean in China’s Belt and Road Project

June 1, 2017 (EIRNS)—In an interview with the Cuban daily Granma, published May 31, Zhu Quingqiao, head of the Latin American/Caribbean Affairs Department of China’s Foreign Ministry, emphasized the inclusive nature of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is open to all Ibero-American and Caribbean nations.

"We are working on articulating our development strategies and policies in order to promote greater connectivity" with the region, he added, noting that five Ibero-American nations have already joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and that Argentina is in the process of joining. "While the nucleus of [BRI], presented by China, but shared with the whole world, is concentrated in Asia, Europe and Africa," Zhu explained, "through the AIIB everyone may participate and aspire to infrastructure plans, in Asia, or within their own borders."

He especially emphasized the importance of cooperation in science and innovation, noting that China is willing to export to many nations advanced technology and productive capacity, "of which there is a surplus" in China. The location of many Chinese firms in Ibero-American nations will also "contribute to the promotion of industrialization and job creation," he underscored. In this context, he stressed the importance of the China-CELAC Forum (CELAC is the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), created in 2015 to promote economic cooperation, and to which China is currently offering a $35 billion financial package, $10 billion of which has already been approved for specific projects.

Zhu reported that Xi Jinping has tasked him with building comprehensive, mutually-beneficial associations with all the nations of the region. "Currently we possess broad possibilities for cooperation," he said.

"There are no geopolitical conflicts or historical disputes; rather we are united by a profound friendship.... We seek mutual understanding, but have to overcome the distance, and lack of knowledge (about each other),"

he said.