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Latin America and China in Times of COVID-19

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 16, 2020

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In the first in a new Wilson Center series on “medical diplomacy” in Latin America, the region hardest hit by COVID-19, Professor Cynthia Sanborn of Peru’s Universidad del Pacífico examines the geopolitical implications of China’s robust pandemic response.

In her article, “Latin America and China in Times of COVID-19,” Sanborn outlines Beijing’s “timely, strategic, and significant” contributions to Latin America’s COVID-19 response, beginning almost immediately after the virus reached the region. China’s support has included medical supply donations, the speedy sale of masks, ventilators, and ambulances, and a promised $1 billion donation for coronavirus vaccines. This Chinese effort has vastly outstripped U.S. support. However, Sanborn says the geopolitical consequences are uncertain. Ideological divisions in Latin America and intensifying “superpower rivalries” complicate the region’s dealings with China. Moreover, Latin America’s economic relationship with China remains “concentrated in the export of natural resources and commercial agricultural products,” limiting its contributions to Latin America’s economic diversification and development.

Tags:  China  covid-19  diplomacy  Latin America 

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