Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) "President Hu Jintao's [. . .] Latin American tour [. . .] was very successful and has helped expand the mainland's trade ties with the region and spread the message that Taiwan's independence movement is a security threat to the Asia-Pacific region," Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said yesterday.
According to him, President Hu Jintao's 12-day visit to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Cuba won China widespread support on the Taiwan issue. President Hu said many times "that the risky adventures taken by Taiwan authorities are now the biggest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and Asia-Pacific region". Mr Li did not however speak about Mr Hu's meeting with US President George W. Bush at the APEC summit in Chile during which Taiwan was also an important issue.
The Chinese President met Taiwan's APEC envoy Lee Yuan-tseh but their talks were too short to be of any substance. "We had an opportunity to meet, but an encounter of only a few minutes was not going to resolve disputes," Dr Lee, co-winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1986, said. "We could feel each other's goodwill [but] time was short and we did not focus on cross-strait issues."
If the Latin American trip did not solve the Taiwan issue, it did provide China the opportunity to talk trade.
Foreign Minister Li said Mr Hu's visit opens the door for greater trade and investment co-operation between China and Latin American countries. To prove it, mainland companies signed 39 agreements covering trade, investment, space co-operation and education: a number of them involving the supply of Latin American raw materials and energy to China to sustain its economic growth.