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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Brazil's Lula Arrives In China For State Visit

Brazil's Lula Arrives In China For State Visit

The veteran leftist, who is due to meet his counterpart Xi Jinping Friday in Beijing, arrived first in Shanghai with his wife Rosangela "Janja" da Silva.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived late Wednesday in China for an official visit aimed at boosting already deep ties between the Asian giant and Latin America's biggest economy.

The veteran leftist, who is due to meet his counterpart Xi Jinping Friday in Beijing, arrived first in Shanghai with his wife Rosangela "Janja" da Silva.

They received bouquets of flowers as they were greeted by China's Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng.

Before departing Brazil, Lula said he planned to invite President Xi to visit at a future, unspecified date.

"We're going to consolidate our relationship with China. I'm going to invite Xi Jinping to come to Brazil for a bilateral meeting, to get to know the country and to show him projects that will be of interest for Chinese investment," Lula said Monday evening.

Lula, 77, was initially scheduled to travel in late March to China, Brazil's biggest trading partner, but had to postpone the trip after coming down with pneumonia.

Lula's schedule in Shanghai on Thursday includes attending the inauguration of his ally, Brazilian ex-president Dilma Rousseff, as head of the BRICS development bank. It is a group formed by top emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Returning to office in January after having led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, Lula is seeking to smoothe relations with China, after ties deteriorated under his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.

In a delicate balancing act, he is also seeking closer ties with the United States, Brazil's second-biggest trading partner and a key rival of China.

His visit with Xi comes after a high-profile White House meeting with President Joe Biden in February.

Lula is keen to reposition Brazil as a key player and deal broker on the international stage, after four years of relative isolation under Bolsonaro.

He and Xi are notably expected to discuss the Ukraine conflict, in which both hope to act as mediators -- despite Western concerns that they are overly cozy with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lula has some 40 high-level figures with him on the trip, including cabinet ministers, governors and members of Congress.

He will wrap up his trip with a one-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
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