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Brazil-China relations to continue to advance under Bolsonaro's gov't: expert

(Xinhua)    13:47, December 03, 2018

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Brazil-China relations will continue to advance after Jair Bolsonaro takes office as Brazil's new president on Jan. 1, a Brazilian expert told Xinhua.

Though Bolsonaro made some controversial statements during the presidential campaign, his actions during the presidency are likely to be more prudent, said Professor Severino Cabral, chairman of the Brazilian Institute for China and Asia Pacific Studies.

"The controversies before and after the election are different. It is one thing to make a controversial statement in the campaign to take a stance and win votes; it is another thing entirely to actually sit in the presidential chair and rule," Cabral said.

The professor believes that Brazil's relations with China are solid and that no government would wish to upset them.

"Brazil has great relations with both China and the United States, and that cannot change. It is structural. No Brazilian government would confront either China or the U.S., it would not be beneficial for the country," he added.

China is Brazil's largest trade partner and Brazil is China's major partner in Latin America. Cabral said that as the Brazil-China relationship is important for both sides, Bolsonaro's administration will not jeopardize it.

"If to us the relationship with China is vital, because of our trade balance, for China it is also important to keep a good relationship with Brazil," Cabral said. "If the relations are important to both sides, things must be carried on with prudence."

NATIONALIST DIRECTIONS

Cabral recalled that Bolsonaro's campaign motto "Brazil Above All" is likely to set the tone for his administration's foreign relations, with a centralized and nationalist direction.

"As (U.S. President Donald) Trump said 'America First,' Bolsonaro sets the tone with 'Brazil Above All.' It gives a direction to his foreign policy," he said. "It shows a need to take a proactive stance in the relations with all countries, to privilege Brazil's interests in all directions."

However, thinking of Brazil's interests first does not mean the China-Brazil relations will suffer a blow, he said. An evidence of the continued closeness between the two countries is the fact that the first diplomat to meet with the president-elect, just after the election, was China's Ambassador to Brazil Li Jinzhang.

"Just after the election, the president-elect's first diplomatic act was to meet with the Chinese ambassador. That showed that campaign rhetoric was one thing and the position of a president-elect was another," Cabral said.

About the approximation with the United States and the European Union (EU), which has been in effect in the current administration and is likely to be maintained by the Bolsonaro government, Cabral stressed that tightening relations with the Western powers does not mean the relations with China or with blocs like BRICS and Mercosur will be left unattended.

Bolsonaro will have many internal challenges to deal with, from the problematic finances to industrial restructuring, and collaboration with China can be a great assistance to the handling of these challenges.

"Brazil needs to integrate its region and create new development areas in the country ... China is a country of continental dimensions, just like Brazil, and also faces the challenge of spreading its economic development through the entire country," he stressed.

"It is more or less like our own challenge, to elevate the standards of life and development over the next decades," he said.

Brazil could build new, innovative ties not only with China, but also with its neighbors, facing the challenges of globalization and domestic development, Cabral said.

There are competent people in the new administration, such as those from the Foreign Ministry and trade organizations, who are very experienced about relations with China and can help advise the president on this front, he noted.

In addition, Vice President-elect General Hamilton Mourao has showed more pragmatic views in a recently published interview. He said the Bolsonaro government does not intend to cause any conflicts with China, while stressing the importance of the Asian country and its weight on Brazil's foreign trade.

Cabral advised Brazil's government to be inspired by China and build long-term plans, like the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, to develop and advance the country.

"Brazil must have a vision for its future and that does not represent a conflict with China's interests," he said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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