Chinese deals are too good to be true, US tells Latin America

Chinese deals are too good to be true, US tells Latin America

China has called the US secretary of state “ignorant and malicious” after Mike Pompeo suggested that Latin America should be wary of Beijing’s growing investment in the region.

State media said that he had expressed contempt for resource-rich but cash-poor South American governments by assuming that he could give them advice on how to best pursue economic development. “The US attaches importance to the region, but at the same time, it sneezes at these countries,” the Global Times, a state-run newspaper, said. “As China is winning trust and support from Latin America, the US feels lost and is trying to drive a wedge.”

During a tour of Mexico and Panama last week, Mr Pompeo said: “When China comes calling it’s not always to the good of your citizens. When they show up with deals that seem to be too good to be true it’s often the case that they, in fact, are.

”He urged countries in South America to have their “eyes wide open” about the future consequences of Chinese investment. There has been a growing trade war between Beijing and Washington amid China’s growing economic reach and influence in South America.

Much of South America has embraced China, which plans to pour $750 billion into the region by next year. In return China, a big trade partner of Argentina, Chile and Brazil, has secured concessions. In the past two years three Latin American governments —El Salvador, Panama and the Dominican Republic —have cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, a self-ruling island that China considers a renegade province.

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