Argentina and Chile are pushing for starring roles in an ambitious global infrastructure development initiative launched by China. Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet were the sole Latin American leaders to attend a two-day ‘Belt and Road’ forum in Beijing on 14 and 15 May during which China’s President Xi Jinping presented his credentials as a global statesman and China as the new economic hegemon with the US retreating from the stage. Bachelet praised “the world’s biggest economic project” and offered Chile as a bridge between Asia and Latin America. Macri said that regional convergence with China’s initiative was “an opportunity not to be passed up”. While seeking investment in infrastructure projects in Argentina, Macri, in return, offered to provide the countries taking part in the forum with food security.

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