Sunday, February 04, 2018

Xi Jinping Trolls Tillerson

As I noted two days ago, Rex Tillerson is trying to spread an unconvincing message of how good the U.S. is versus China. In response, Xi Jinping made a point of celebrating 30 years of relations with Uruguay and promising more.

President Xi Jinping vowed to expand ties with Uruguay in a “comprehensive way” in a message sent to his Uruguayan counterpart Tabare Vasquez on Saturday to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral ties. 
Relations between China and Uruguay had “witnessed great progress” over the past three decades, Xi said in the message.

He would have sent such a message even without Tillerson's prompt but the Chinese government followed it up:

“What the United States said is entirely against the truth and displayed disrespect to the vast number of Latin American countries,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “China is a major international buyer of Latin American bulk commodities, and imports more and more agricultural and high-value-added products from the region.” 
“The development of China-Latin America ties does not target or reject any third party, nor does it affect the interests of third parties in Latin America,” it added.

This is actually more truthful than Tillerson.

The press has been talking about how Tillerson's message is different than Trump's, which is true to a a degree. The China comments seem very Trumpish, however, with the mix of criticism and self-aggrandizement. Like many Trumpish messages, it is a bad idea and will backfire. Latin America does not need or want the United States to say what's good for everyone. Latin American leaders are perfectly capable of sorting out what kind of ties they want with China.


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