Peruvian President Dina Ercilia Boluarte Zegarra will pay her first state visit to China from June 25 to 29 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

The two heads of state are expected to meet in Beijing and Chinese Premier Li Qiang and China’s top legislator Zhao Leji are also set to hold meetings with Boluarte. China aims to consolidate political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation and advance the China-Peru comprehensive strategic partnership through Boluarte’s visit, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The last face-to-face meeting between Xi and Boluarte took place in November last year on the sidelines of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco. They discussed strengthening traditional cooperation in fields such as energy and mineral resources and fostering new cooperation areas in digital economy and green development.

Xi said at the time that China was willing to import more agricultural products from Peru and encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in Peru’s major projects by market principles. The two sides also agreed to strengthen collaboration in education, culture, tourism and technology.

During Boluarte’s China visit, she will visit Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing. Promoting economic and trade cooperation is one of the top issues on the agenda of the Peruvian president, Peruvian media outlets reported.

China is Peru’s largest trading partner, and Peru is China’s second-largest investment destination in Latin America. The two countries signed a free trade agreement in 2009, which came into effect in 2010, and a Memorandum of Understanding on Belt and Road Cooperation in 2019.

Peru is set to hold the APEC summit in November, and one of the major China-Peru Belt and Road cooperation projects, the Chancay Port, is also expected to be completed and start trial operations late this year, which means the APEC meeting is likely to coincide with the inauguration of the flagship port.

The $3.5 billion deepwater port is invested in and built by Chinese firm Cosco Shipping and will be able to accommodate the largest cargo ships. After the megaproject is finished, ships will be able to head directly to Asia, cutting the journey time by two weeks and lowering transportation costs for exporters. Ships currently travel through the Panama Canal or skirt the Atlantic before sailing to China.

Enrique Cornejo, former Peruvian minister of transportation and communications, said that the project will open a key new route between Asia and South America, solidify Peru’s position as a regional transport hub and help Peru attract more investment and create more jobs. According to Chinese Ambassador to Peru Song Yang, the port has generated more than 9,000 jobs for local residents.

Song also told China Media Group in a recent interview that the port is expected to become the hub of regional connectivity in Latin America and boost regional development. It’s reported that Peruvian and Brazilian officials are in talks to resolve logistical, sanitary and bureaucratic hurdles at the border so Brazilian trucks can more easily reach the port. There will also be an industrial hub near Chancay to process raw materials which could include grains and meat from Brazil before shipping them to Asia.

Brazil exported $105.75 billion of goods to China in 2023, including soy, crude oil, iron ore, corn and beef. According to Brazil’s ambassador to Peru, Clemente Baena Soares, who visited Chancay in September last year, Brazilian businesses are delighted with the possibility of a new route to take their goods to Asia.

Cooperation between China and Latin American countries has become increasingly close in recent years, especially in the field of infrastructure construction. As of 2023, over 20 Latin American countries had signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with China. Experts say that China’s investment and technical support are helping Latin American countries accelerate their economic development, and has become an important driving force for the development of the Global South.

China and Peru both pay great importance to economic and trade cooperation. It’s expected that following Boluarte’s China visit, the two countries will further strengthen policy coordination mechanisms, enhance commercial connectivity, facilitate greater financial flows, and encourage more extensive people-to-people communication.

Peru recently designated February 1 as “Peru-China Friendship Day” as the day is close to Chinese New Year. As a response, a spokesperson from China’s Foreign Ministry stated that Peru’s emphasis on bilateral ties underscores the deep-rooted friendship between China and Peru, and that China is willing to work with Peru to advance the comprehensive strategic partnership and yield more fruitful outcomes that benefit the people of both nations.

 

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