Chile’s President-elect Gabriel Boric has said that his new government will focus its foreign policy on improving ties with members of the Pacific Alliance (Alianza del Pacífico) trade bloc.
Boric, who was elected earlier this month in a run-off vote, said relations with member states Colombia, Mexico and Peru would be prioritised.
"We are going to give priority to the Pacific Alliance in the future. I have already spoken with several of the presidents, in particular with [Andrés] Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, with President [Iván] Duque of Colombia, and we have also been in contact with the Peruvian Foreign Ministry," he said.
Born out of an initiative led by former Peruvian president Alan García (2006-2011), the Pacific Alliance was formally sealed in June 2012.
Boric, who was elected with 55.8 percent of votes against far-right candidate José Antonio Kast’s 44.1 percent, added that he had nevertheless declined an invitation from President Sebastián Piñera to accompany him on a trip to Colombia at the end of January, during which summits for the Pacific Alliance and the Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur) will be held.
The latter grouping – made up of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay and Peru – was was created in March 2019 in Santiago under Piñera’s guidance.
"It seems to us that our priorities today are in team building here in Chile," said the president-elect, who has yet to name his Cabinet and fine-tune the change in government due next March.
Boric said that he had previously spoken with Piñera about his decision so that it would not be understood as "a state snub."
"With regard to Prosur, it seems to us that it is President Piñera's own agenda, which is his legitimate right," said the lefist leader, who said that when he takes office he would develop an agenda based on the prospects for collaboration in accordance with the "tremendous challenges" facing the region and wider world.
Among them, he highlighted the coronavirus pandemic, which in Chile has left 1.8 million cases and 39,000 dead, as well as the climate crisis, migratory crises, economic cooperation and the strengthening of democracy.