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Gathering to send 'strong message' to world, Argentine envoy says

By Mo Jingxi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-13 07:28

Argentina will propose bilateral and multilateral cooperation in infrastructure and agriculture during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, its ambassador said.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri will attend the forum and make a state visit to China from Sunday to Thursday.

According to Diego Ramiro Guelar, Argentina's ambassador to China, the Belt and Road Initiative is a global proposal that includes countries from different regions of the world, including Argentina. Guelar spoke to China Daily at his country's embassy on Monday.

"Argentina has two main proposals. First is the possibility to include Latin American countries' infrastructure in key projects of the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.

According to Guelar, Argentina has major rivers that connect Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, and many Chinese companies are already working on river transport infrastructure.

"We think this can be included in the worldwide infrastructure program under the initiative," he said.

Since Argentina is building national programs related to energy and transport, the ambassador also suggested cooperation between China and Argentina in terms of railways, hydroelectric power, nuclear power and nonconventional power such as wind and sun.

Cooperation between China and Africa in the food sector is the second area in which his country can be useful, since Argentina has excellent technology that can help increase food production in Africa, Guelar said.

"We can cooperate with China and Africa," he said.

Guelar believes the forum could also send a clear message of international cooperation on global issues, such as environmental protection, the fight against drug trafficking and violence.

"This is a very strong message that could neutralize the few voices that are menacing the world with new nationalism, isolation or violence. And it is going to be listened to by hundreds of millions of people all over the world," he said.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Argentina, and China has become the second-largest trading partner of Argentina, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The ambassador hopes "close cooperation" through investment, financing and trade will also happen in two new areas, tourism and soccer.

Last year, only 35,000 of the 120 million Chinese who traveled abroad chose Argentina as their destination.

In order to attract more Chinese tourists to Argentina, a 10-year visa policy for Chinese citizens will be announced during Macri's visit to China. Under this new policy, tourists can stay up to three months at a time in Argentina.

"We hope in 10 years we will see 1 million Chinese tourists," Guelar said.

The two countries also will sign agreements on soccer cooperation during the Argentine president's visit, to promote exchanges among soccer clubs, schools, players and coaches.

"We are going to participate in this case to help China in the football field," he added.

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