South America has long been seen as America’s backyard. The Chinese, however, are eager to establish ties with the region. China is in talks with close American ally Colombia, to invest in a multi-billion dollar railway. From Time Magazine:
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told the Financial Times on Sunday that Bogotá and Beijing are in talks to build a multi-billion-dollar railway connecting Colombia’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Said Santos, in a poke at U.S. superpower self-esteem, “Asia is the new motor of the world economy.”
Chinese officials confirmed this week that their country has agreed to invest in the $7.6 billion project, which would stretch about 140 miles (220 km) from Colombia’s northern Caribbean region, near Cartagena, to an as-yet undesignated site on its western Pacific coast, mainly to ferry Colombia’s abundant coal to Asia.
Whether this will usher in a new era of Sino-Columbian relations remains to be seen. It will be worthwhile to keep an eye on these developments and their potential impact on US, South American, and Chinese relations.