Sino-Latin American relations experienced an extraordinary “intensification process” throughout the first sixteen years of the 21st century.

In an article recently published, Diego Leiva, PhD candidate at Griffith University, analyses the relationship between China and Latin America between 2001 and 2016, proposing three major ideas. First, Sino-Latin American relations experienced an inflection point in 2001, which initiated an unprecedented process that intensified the relationship. Second, since this inflection point in 2001, the relationship established its foundations by transiting through an economic phase between 2001 and 2008, and a soft power phase between 2008 and 2013. Finally, since Xi Jinping took office in 2013, Sino-Latin American relations might be entering a comprehensive new phase that goes beyond trade and soft power, including the political and military-strategic dimensions.

Despite the large geographic distance dividing China and Latin America, they have both shared a similar position in the international system post-World War II. From Mao Zedong’s perspective, both Latin America and the People’s Republic of China were considered to be part of the “third world” (Jiang, 2008), being aware of their shared peripheral position in the
international system and dependent on the developed western “centres.” To avoid isolation in such disadvantaged position, China and the Latin American countries supported each other throughout the Cold War. They established diplomatic relations and recognised their common and uncomfortable situation in between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The article provides an overview of Sino-Latin American relations in the 21st century, then it describes how the
foundations of the relationship were established in its first two phases. Finally, this article provides a proposal of a new phase of Sino-Latin American relations since 2013.

Please click here to download the PDF file “Xi Jinping and The Sino – Latin American Relations in The 21st Century: Facing The Beginning of A New Phase?” article written by Diego Leiva, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University.