Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Tuesday it would be a "big mistake" for Argentina's future government to cut ties with "countries as big as Brazil and China," something now President-elect Javier Milei has warned during his campaign. In addition, Milei's proposed Foreign Minister Diana Mondino assured that "we will stop interfering with the Brazilian and Chinese governments."
"The relationship with both countries will be excellent as it should be," but "we must distinguish what is the Government from what is the State," Mondino had also said. In an interview with Russian agency RIA Novosti, Mondino said Argentina would "stop interacting" with the governments of China and Brazil, which did not mean stopping trade. "What we are not going to do are secret contacts. Argentina, this government, in the last 20 years, has had multiple secret negotiations," Mondino explained. "That is not normal and that is what we have said we are not going to do."
Mao insisted that "no country can separate diplomatic relations from the development of economic and commercial cooperation" and recalled that "China is Argentina's second trading partner and the first export market for its agricultural products."
"The two parties have a strong economic complementarity and a great potential for cooperation," she added.
In the last debate, Milei told Economy Minister Sergio Massa that products not sold to China could be traded elsewhere or triangulated towards the Asian giant.
Beijing and Buenos Aires have maintained good relations in recent years: last year Argentina joined the Belt and Road, China's main international economic initiative to consolidate its influence through infrastructure. China has investments in Argentina in strategic areas such as infrastructure and mining, in addition to a "swap" agreement whereby yuan are used instead of US dollars. Many Chinese companies are interested in Argentina's agricultural potential and in minerals such as lithium, which is pivotal for the Chinese electric car industry.