The choice of Brazil as the first country on Chinese President Hu Jintao’s itinerary during his trip to South America is seen as a sign of prestige and a recognition of Brazil’s leadership in the region by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations (denominated the Itamaraty, after the palace where its headquarters is located).
Jintao is scheduled to arrive today and will remain in Brasília until Saturday. From Sunday to Tuesday he will visit the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Besides a private meeting with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, tomorrow morning, November 12, in the Planalto Palace, where 11 agreements are set to be signed, high expectations surround the joint session of Congress where he will be solemnly received at 15:15 P.M.
“At this session the Chinese President will delivery a formal address in which he will announce, for the first time, China’s foreign policy towards Latin America,” commented the director of the Asia and Oceania Department of the Itamaraty, Edmundo Fujita.
What the Chinese want from Brazil is recognition of their country as a market economy.
The joint communiqué issued at the end of President Lula’s visit to China in May states that “the Brazilian side was apprised of the important advances in the reform of the Chinese economic system and pledged to examine, in a constructive spirit, the question of recognizing China as a market economy country.”
Six months later, the Chinese President awaits the results of this examination, but, according to the director of the Trade Promotion Department of the Itamaraty, Mário Vilalva, “the matter is very complex,” and Brazil has not yet defined its position.
Vilalva recalled that the Chinese economy, which he characterized as “in transition,” still suffers from heavy State intervention, including the control of prices and the determination of exchange rates.
In São Paulo, Hu Jintao will visit the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), in São José dos Campos, site of the Sino-Brazilian Earth Reconnaissance Program (Cbers), the principal project in the joint research conducted by the two countries in the area of satellites.
The program, which has already placed two satellites in orbit, will receive guarantees, in protocols to be signed during the Chinese President’s visit, for the launches of Cbers 2b and 3, set for 2008.
Another agreement will allow the images produced by the satellites to be sold to third-party countries.
The visit to São Paulo on the 15th will also include meetings with Governor Geraldo Alkmim and the city’s Chinese community.
The day before, on Sunday, Nobember 14, the Chinese delegation will be in Rio de Janeiro, where it will meet with Governor Rosinha Matheus and the local Chinese community.
On the 16th Jintao and his entourage will depart for Argentina. Cuba and Chile are also part of the itinerary.
Translator: David Silberstein