A golden opportunity

GEOPOLITICS waits for no man, not even the United States’ president-elect. Little more than a week after Donald Trump’s victory, Xi Jinping, president of the world’s second-largest economy, set off for Latin America—his third trip there since 2013—clutching a sheaf of trade deals. They were proposed long before the change of government in Washington. But at a time when the image of the big, bad yanqui seems to be making a comeback, Mr Xi may find himself with an opportunity to boost Chinese influence in the American backyard.

China’s aims in the region are expansive. In 2015 it signed a slew of agreements with Latin American countries promising to double bilateral trade to $500bn within ten years and to increase the total stock of investment between them from $85bn-100bn to $250bn. China also wants good relations in order to diversify its sources of energy, to find new markets for its infrastructure companies and to project power, both soft and military, in the western hemisphere.

But Mr Xi, whose itinerary takes him to Ecuador, Peru and Chile, will have to work hard for these gains. After a long period of…Continue reading

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