Lula and Xi pledge to boost ties in Beijing meeting

Brazilian and Chinese presidents stress importance of bilateral relationship in talks aimed at bolstering trade.

Brazil's Lula meets Chinese President Xi in Beijing
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and China’s President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 14, 2023 [Ricardo Stuckert/Handout via Reuters]

The presidents of Brazil and China have pledged to bolster cooperation between their two countries, as Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Xi Jinping held widely anticipated talks in the Chinese capital.

The meeting on Friday in Beijing came on the second day of Lula’s visit to China, the South American nation’s most important trading partner.

Their talks focused largely on trade ties and other forms of cooperation, but also touched on the conflict in Ukraine, with the leaders agreeing on the need for a negotiated settlement, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

“As comprehensive strategic partners, China and Brazil share extensive common interests,” Xi said, according to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “China … sees the relationship as a high priority on its diplomatic agenda,” he said.

Lula, who took office at the beginning of the year, has been seeking to reset Brazil’s relationships with allies, many of which were tested under his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. He also has sought to reassert the country’s role in international diplomacy.

In a tweet on Friday, the Brazilian president said he had signed agreements with China on renewable energy, agribusiness, information technology, health and infrastructure, among other sectors.

The two governments signed 15 agreements or MoUs that include the building of a sixth satellite used to monitor the Amazon, and the development of technology for 5G telecommunications, the internet and cybersecurity.

They also agreed to “explore mechanisms to promote bilateral cooperation in scientific and technological research and industrial innovation”.

That would involve joint research and development activities between public, private and academic institutions, and the exchange of scientists and scientific papers.

Brazil-China ties were strained under Bolsonaro, who won the 2018 Brazilian presidential election after campaigning on anti-China rhetoric.

But the two countries are major economic partners, with bilateral trade totalling $150bn in 2022, S&P Global Market Intelligence analysts Ailsa Rosales and Alejandro Duran Carrete wrote in a briefing note this month.

Brazil mainly exports iron ore, soybeans and crude petroleum to China, while semiconductor devices account for the largest share of Chinese exports to the Brazilian market.

Lula’s China visit follows trips to Argentina and Uruguay in January and to the United States in February, when he met President Joe Biden at the White House.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies