Sino-Latin American Comprehensive Cooperation: Development Logic, Driving Forces, and Prospects
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After adjusting their diplomatic strategies, China and Latin American nations have reached consensuses for comprehensive and pragmatic cooperation. Growing mutual benefits have made multilateral cooperation a new bilateral focus. The first Ministerial Meeting at the China-CELAC Forum marked the institutionalization of comprehensive cooperation, ushering in a new era of Sino-Latin American friendly cooperation. This paper analyzes the feasibility of bilateral cooperation, which is bound to take place due to both sides’ interdependence in the current global governance system. Bilateral cooperation is a natural result of an evolving relationship, supported extrinsically by the new trends in South-South cooperation and global inter-regional cooperation, and intrinsically by the need for economic upgrading and connection. On the basis of the documents adopted at the Ministerial Meeting during President Xi’s visits to Latin America and the Caribbean, this paper points out that this cooperation is intended to establish a five-dimensional relationship, where five principles should be abided by. First, mutual political trust between China and Latin America should be reinforced in line with the principles of equality and mutual assistance; second, methods should be explored to upgrade economic cooperation between China and Latin American nations in a mutually beneficial way; third, public diplomacy between China and Latin America should be facilitated by way of better interactions and exchanges; fourth, Sino-Latin American shared interests should be protected and internationally coordinated; fifth, the bilateral relationship between China and Latin America should be improved via comprehensive cooperation. This paper also examines the challenges to bilateral cooperation, stressing that they need to address the complicated geopolitical patterns within Latin America, divergences between Latin American countries, and the region’s complex business environment, in addition to the proper handling of relations with countries not diplomatic tied to China. This paper proposes that ensuring the effectiveness of cooperation implies the mid- and/or short-term exploration and implementation of three approaches: first, the development of a “double-engine” drive for economic relations; second, the opening-up of diverse channels for non-governmental diplomacy; and third, the strengthening of relations with Latin American countries and regional/sub-regional organizations, so as to effectively support the growth of the cooperation mechanism.