China on Tuesday issued a warning to Argentina that it would be a “huge foreign policy mistake” for Buenos Aires to cut ties, shortly after right-wing libertarian Javier Milei secured victory in the South American nation’s presidential runoff.
At a regular news conference, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said, “China is an important trading partner for Argentina, and its elected government attaches great importance to relations with China.”
"No country can develop economic and trade cooperation without diplomatic relations. It would be a serious mistake in Argentina's diplomacy if Argentina cuts ties with major countries like China or Brazil," Mao said.
"China is Argentina's second-largest trading partner and the largest export market for agricultural products. The two sides have strong economic complementarity and great potential for cooperation," she added.
Milei has criticized China as well as Brazil, which are among his country's most important trading partners. A few months ago, Milei even likened the Chinese government to an "assassin" and said the people of China were "not free".
Fernandez also pledged coordination with China under frameworks such as the G20 and BRICS.
Milei's tough talk on China stands in sharp contrast with a vow of cooperation by the outgoing president, Alberto Fernandez, who visited Beijing last month and hailed China as a "true friend" of Argentina.
Diana Mondino, an economist tipped to become foreign minister in Milei’s administration, was quoted on Monday as saying Argentina would stop interacting with the governments of Brazil and China, according to Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
On being asked if Argentina would encourage exports and imports with those countries, Mondino told RIA that Buenos Aires would stop interacting with Beijing and Brasília.
“The two sides have strong economic complementarity and huge potential for cooperation,” said Mao, when asked by reporters to comment on Mondino’s remarks.
“China is willing to continue to work together with Argentina to promote the stability and long-term development of bilateral relations,” Mao added.
Argentina was among six countries invited to become new members of BRICS, a bloc whose members also include Brazil, India, and South Africa.
Image source: Reuters