Friday, May 24, 2024

Foreign Affairs Minister Bárcena visits China to purchase supplies for Acapulco

Foreign Affairs Minister Alicia Bárcena met with top officials in China on Monday and Tuesday during a trip to the east Asian nation to purchase household appliances and other goods for the victims of Hurricane Otis in Guerrero.

Bárcena held talks with Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Tuesday and  Commerce Minister Wang Wentao on Monday.

Alicia Bárcena with Wang Wentao
Bárcena met with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao (center) on Monday. (SRE/X)

Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) said in a statement that Bárcena in her Tuesday meeting thanked China for its support in the wake of Hurricane Otis, which devastated Acapulco and nearby areas on Oct. 25, and for enabling “the immediate purchase of electrical appliances for affected families.”

The SRE said in a separate statement on Sunday that the foreign minister was leading a delegation to China and South Korea that was seeking to purchase “household goods, appliances and basic necessities for the victims of Hurricane Otis in Guerrero.”

President López Obrador said last week that Mexico was looking to buy some 200,000 appliances in China. The government intends to distribute appliances such as stoves and fridges free of charge to hurricane victims.

According to the SRE, Wang Yi on Tuesday “ratified the instruction given by President Xi Jinping to support Mexico on this issue.”

Acapulco residents receive household appliances
Acapulco residents wait in line for hours to receive household items, which the government is distributing to those affected by Hurricane Otis. (CARLOS ALBERTO CARBAJAL/CUARTOSCURO.COM)

At a meeting with López Obrador in San Francisco last month, Xi, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, conveyed his condolences “for the recent hurricane disaster on the Pacific coast of Mexico and said that China will provide substantial assistance to Mexico in the procurement of materials in response to the disaster.”

At their meeting on Tuesday, Bárcena and Wang Yi agreed that the presidents “strengthened bilateral ties, reaffirmed the friendship between Mexico and China and achieved important agreements” at their meeting on the sidelines of the APEC conference in San Francisco.

In his talks with Xi, López Obrador “mentioned the challenges shared by both countries, and the need to exchange information and lessons learned in the fight against the illicit trafficking of precursor chemicals” used to manufacture fentanyl, according to the Mexican government.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government denied that fentanyl and precursor chemicals used to make the synthetic opioid are shipped to Mexico from China, but has now accepted that they are.

AMLO meets with Xi Jinping
President López Obrador met with President Xi Jinping for the first time in November in San Francisco. (Andrés Manuel López Obrador/X)

In Beijing on Tuesday, Bárcena and her Chinese counterpart “agreed on the importance of the visit to China in October of a Mexican delegation that led to the establishment of a Mexico-China working group … to combat the trafficking of chemical precursors that can be used for the manufacture of synthetic drugs and fentanyl.”

The two countries are collaborating to monitor the movement of precursor chemicals and exchanging information to assist each other in the fight against fentanyl.

Among other remarks at her meeting with Wang Yi, Bárcena “emphasized the importance of strengthening the CELAC-China forum,” through which Latin American and Caribbean nations engage with the Asian superpower, and “reiterated Mexico’s adherence to the One China principle.”

Wang Yi, according to Xinhua, told Bárcena that “China is willing to view and develop relations with Mexico from a strategic and long-term perspective.”

He also said that “China stands ready to work with Mexico to uphold mutual respect and equal treatment, and bring bilateral relations to a new level.”

China is Mexico’s second largest trading partner after the United States, and the two countries entered into a “comprehensive strategic partnership” a decade ago.

Alicia Bárcena in meetings with Chinese officials
Mexican and Chinese officials both stated they are committed to a “deepening” of the Mexico-China relationship. (SRE/X)

But Mexican and Chinese officials are currently emphasizing that they are seeking to further strengthen bilateral ties. Bárcena and Wang Yi on Tuesday, and Bárcena and Wang Wentao on Monday, committed to “deepening” the Mexico-China relationship, according to the SRE and the Chinese government.

Wang Wentao told the Mexican foreign minister that China is willing to work with Mexico “to promote the high quality development of bilateral economic and trade relations,” while President Xi last month called on China and Mexico to increase cooperation in sectors including electric vehicles and finance.

Chinese investment in Mexico is growing, but China wasn’t among the top 10 investors in the country in the first nine months of 2023, according to the Economy Ministry.

However, based on investment announcements made by Chinese companies between January and November, China is currently the second largest foreign investor in Mexico behind the United States, reported Integralia, a Mexico City-based consultancy that tracks foreign investment in Mexico.

Bárcena, in her meeting with Wang Wentao, welcomed Chinese investment in Mexico.

The foreign minister, who was accompanied by Mexico’s Ambassador to China Jesús Seade and other officials, also thanked the commerce minister for his assistance in the aftermath of Otis, the most powerful hurricane to have ever made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Bárcena also met on Monday with Cong Liang, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, with whom she spoke about “issues of common interest,” according to the SRE.

The foreign minister will next head to South Korea, Mexico’s third largest trading partner in 2022. There she will meet with senior officials, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and representatives of the business community and the Mexican community, the SRE said.

Bárcena’s trip to Asia “reaffirms the importance Mexico attaches to its relationship with both China and the Republic of Korea,” the ministry said.

With reports from EFE, Xinhua and AP

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