Saturday, May 18, 2024

China and Bolivia should safeguard Global South interests, Beijing urges

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“The two nations should jointly defend the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and firmly safeguard the common interests of Global South countries.

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“Consolidating and developing the China-Bolivia strategic partnership is an established policy of the Chinese government … The two countries should continue to enhance cooperation between the governments, legislatures and political parties, and synergise development strategies,” Wang added.

He also noted that the two countries should explore the potential for cooperation in new areas such as the digital economy, plateau agriculture, information and communication and green development.

The Bolivian foreign ministry said Sosa had been invited to visit by Beijing and she would address a broad agenda, including cooperation in tourism, technology, energy and others areas of mutual interest.

According to Wang, Beijing is willing to promote the China-Bolivia strategic partnership to a new level. He said China firmly supported Bolivia finding a development path suited to its national conditions, and resolutely opposed external forces interfering in its internal affairs.

According to the Chinese statement, Sosa expressed steadfast support for the one-China principle and said Bolivia was eager to further collaborate with China within the Brics framework and other multilateral organisations.

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She also highlighted China’s role as a crucial strategic partner for Bolivia, indicating Bolivia’s desire to deepen cooperation with China, including in economic and trade sectors. Bolivia encouraged Chinese businesses to invest in the country and aid its industrialisation, she said.

Wang noted that China was willing to work with Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Bolivia, to find more development opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative.

China is Bolivia’s second-biggest trading partner. In 2023, trade between the two countries totalled nearly US$2.6 billion, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

Bolivia is among more than 40 countries that wish to join the Brics group of major emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – in a bid to develop its emerging lithium industry and boost commodities exports.

In a recent interview with Russia’s state-operated Sputnik News, Bolivian President Luis Arce expressed his country’s desire to join the group and offered its natural resources in exchange for technology. He said Bolivia had “a lot to share”, particularly its natural resources.

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With an estimated 23 million tonnes of lithium reserves, Bolivia is now recognised as the world’s largest owner of this crucial metal. Governments and carmakers urgently seek to secure the supply of lithium, which is essential for batteries in electric vehicles. However, La Paz has long found it difficult to increase industrial production or develop commercially feasible reserves.

Before heading to China, Sosa was on a two-day visit to Russia where Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed his country’s support for Bolivia to join Brics. Moscow holds the rotating Brics presidency this year.

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