China hopes to expand its growing economic and political clout at the Nonaligned Movement summit, influence that analysts say will come at the expense of the United States, which passed up a similar invitation to attend as an observer.
Led by China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi, the Chinese delegation plans to hold bilateral meetings with a number of Latin American countries and strengthen China’s ties to the region where its trade has soared. China’s imports from Latin America quintupled to $20.3 billion and exports to the region tripled to $15.4 billion from 2000 to 2004, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The administration of President George W. Bush has declined to attend the summit, and a press officer at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana said it wouldn’t comment on the Nonaligned Movement. [Full Text]
See today’s press release of the summit; and more analysis by Jamestown Foundation’s China’s Encroachment on America’s Backyard and Heritage Foundation’s Balancing China’s Growing Influence in Latin America