On an aptly-timed vacation from political crisis, President Fernández de Kirchner arrived in Beijing yesterday. The President, whose schedule runs from today till Thursday, has been keeping her avid Twitter followers au courant with regular posts.
Early today (like, really early) she met with business leaders from some of the top Chinese companies, and presented them with possible investment projects in Argentina for 19 billion dollars.
“When I arrived,” tweeted the President yesterday, “I was greeted with the same warmth as ever by an adorable little girl in a red coat.” She was also surprised by an “I-M-P-R-E-S-I-O-N-A-N-T-E” floral display at her hotel, courtesy the President Xi Jinping and his wife, and has described the capital of the global powerhouse as “every day bigger and more imposing.” Not sure how she managed to say all that, since in theory Twitter is blocked in China.
With regards to her health, Cristina has informed us that she managed to walk a whole 20 minutes with the cast, and that the doc says she may just be out of her (illegal?) wheelchair by today. The 61-year-old President’s ankle fracture is the latest of a streak of health problems which have prevented her from travelling to Brisbane for last year’s G20 conference and to Rome for a visit to the Vatican. “Either way,” announced Cristina, “China awaits us. And the agenda is more important.”
Cristina arrived at her hotel with a delegation of notables, featuring Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, Public Communications Secretary Alfredo Scoccimarro, Agricultural Minister Carlos Casamiquela, and, of course, Entre Ríos governor Sergio Urribarri, because his job is completely relevant. Planning and Economy Ministers Julio de Vido and Axel Kicillof arrived several days earlier.
According to Clarín, the two Ministers travelled to the technological centre of Huawei where besides meetings with telecommunication firms, De Vido also met with Chinese nuclear authorities and is looking for financial and technological support for the construction of Aytucha III, Argentina’s deceptively-named fourth nuclear base. The President didn’t mention this in her tweets.
Today, Cristina and Co. held talks with a large number of CEOs of Chinese businesses with investments or interest in investing in our country. She held a meeting with Wian Jianping, from the Chinese Energy Engineering Company Group Limited (CEEC), along with presidents and vice-presidents of its subsidiary, China Gezhouba Group, which won the bid for the construction of two hydroelectric dams in Santa Cruz. Their names? “Jorge Cepernic” and “Néstor Kirchner.” Yes.
Here Cristina commented, “Who said dreams can’t become a reality?” She also topped off her high hopes for Chinese investment with a brief rant against
Clarín “monopolies of misinformation” who don’t quite fancy investing in Argentina.
Talks were also expected to resume over the long-awaited renovation of the Belgrano Cargas railway freight line, which would also be funded by Chinese capital.
Carlos Bianco, the Foreign Ministry’s Secretary of Economic Relations, assured Télam that Cristina would be meeting with at least 30 business leaders. Among these are the Presidents of Atanor S. C. A., a US agrochemical which operates in both China and Argentina, and Huapont-Nutrichem Company Limited.
On Wednesday, Cristina will attend the closing ceremony of the Sino-Argentine Forum in the city’s World Trade Centre, which is expected to gather 300 Chinese business tycoons and 100 Argentines. Afterwards, the President will be transferred to the Great Palace of the People, where she will (finally) meet with Xi Jinping, who has very nicely invited her to a dinner “in honor of Argentina.”
At 9 PM, (that’s 10 AM over here) just when the leaders will be tucking into their desert, begins a videoconference with El Calafate, which is expected to broadcast the signing of the agreement to begin work on the dams and the rubber-stamping of the first US $300 million dollars to be poured into the project.
On Thursday Cristina will be meeting Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Zhang Deijang, President of the Permanent Committee of the National Popular Assembly, before finally heading home.
China currently has a mind-boggling twenty-three billion dollars invested in the Argentina, primarily in energy, mining, finance and farming exports. Looks like than number might just become a whole lot bigger. Hopefully this won’t come back to bite Argentina in the ass.
The President also treated us to an all-important weather report: “Two degrees Celsius: perfect for penguins.”
Her Tweets, in full, below.