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ARGENTINA | 13-06-2024 19:30

Milei considers China visit as he heads to Italy for G7

Pope Francis and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva among special guests attending the G7 Leaders Summit in Italy on June 13-15, which is hosted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

President Javier Milei touched down in Bari, Italy, on Thursday, riding a wave of domestic good news and hoping for another show-stealing performance on the international stage.

Argentina’s head of state, travelling on the ARG01 presidential plane departed Buenos Aires in the early hours of Wednesday morning and landed in southern Italy at 6pm (Argentina time) after a brief stop in the Canary Islands.

The President will stay in the vicinity of Bari and then join world leaders at the G7 Leaders Summit which is being held at the exclusive resort of Borgo Egnazia.

Against a backdrop of rising global tensions, the June 13-15 summit sees leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations, including US President Joe Biden, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Japanese premier Fumio Kishida, gather for talks.

Milei, his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Pope Francis and Indian premier Narendra Modi are among the special guests who will join G7 leaders this week during a summit focussed notably on Ukraine and the Middle East.

Other guests have been invited by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to round out the event, but they will not participate in official G7
discussions.

They include Pope Francis – who will attend a session on artificial intelligence – and Modi, fresh from an election setback that has forced him into a coalition government.

Milei will a;sp speak tomorrow about artificial intelligence and will seek to position Argentina as a centre for AI development.

Although local press have speculated about a possible first meeting between Milei and Lula, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said this week that “there was no request” from Argentina for a bilateral meeting.

Argentina’s President is due to hold bilateral meetings with France’s Macron, host Meloni and the head of the World Bank while in Italy. 

Foreign Minister Diana Mondino will not travel. Her place in the travelling delegation has gone to presidential chief-of-staff Karina Milei, the head of state’s sibling.

 

Xi meeting in Beijing?

Reports emerged Thursday that President Milei is considering a visit to China for a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. 

News of the potential visit comes after Argentina earlier this week confirmed the renewal of US$5 billion from US$18-billion currency swap with Beijing for another two years. 

Asked about reports Milei would travel in the first week of July to Asia, Presidential Spokesperson Manuel Adonri said no visit had been confirmed, though he added that “doesn’t mean it won’t happen.”

A trip to China would be something of a surprise, given Milei’s previous comments about China and its
government.

During last year’s election campaign, the avowed anti-socialist called the Xi administration “Communist assasins.”

“We do not make pacts with communists. I would not promote relations with Communists. Not with Cuba, not with Venezuela, not with North Korea, not with Nicaragua, not with China,” said Milei, then a candidate.

Since taking office, several of his officials have sought to improve relations with the Asian giant.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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