Diana Mondino, Milei’s chief foreign affairs adviser, said Argentina would not proceed with its plans to join the association of leading emerging economies, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“We don’t understand the interest in the Union,” Mondino told Russian news agency Sputnik News. “We don’t understand what Argentina is getting out of it at this moment. If it turns out later that there is an advantage, we will of course analyze it.”

Argentina’s bid for the Brics was the only one in the Americas to be supported by the group’s founding members at their last summit in August. But Milei promised during the election campaign to reject the membership, which was supposed to come into force from January 2024.

Supporters of Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei celebrate in Buenos Aires on Sunday. Photo: ReutersIn the runoff election, Milei ran against incumbent Argentine Finance Minister Sergio Massa. Although election officials have not yet certified the results, preliminary figures showed Milei received 56 percent of the vote, compared to 44 percent for Massa, with 99 percent of ballots counted.

Previously, right-wing libertarian Milei said he would “not do business with communist countries” and advocated cutting ties with China and instead aligning himself with “the civilized side of the world.” During the campaign, Milei also accused China of funding pro-Massa advertising on YouTube.

However, Milei’s allies have tried in recent weeks to rein in his rhetoric by courting moderate voters.

For example, at an event organized by a Washington-based think tank earlier this month, Mondino said there would be no disruption in relations between Buenos Aires and Beijing in the event of a Milei victory.

At the same time, Mondino said that the political coalition behind Milei was committed to reviewing the “secret agreements” signed between the ruling government and Beijing.

Argentina’s application for membership in the BRICS countries is under discussion and is the subject of debate

Analysts suggested that the likelihood of significant changes in Sino-Argentine relations was minimal.

Bernabé Malacalza of Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council said Milei’s political alliance would have to make concessions in the election campaign to win the support of Mauricio Macri, a former Argentine president and leader of the country’s moderate right.

A purported condition of Macri’s party for supporting Milei in the runoff was to maintain close economic ties with China, Argentina’s second-largest trading partner after Brazil.

“Amidst the current crisis, Argentina urgently needs dollars, support for the central bank and the continuation of ongoing projects,” Malacalza said. “China plays a crucial role in these three aspects.”

Since 2008, Argentina has concluded financing agreements with China through nine loan agreements worth a total of $8.1 billion, he added, noting that of that amount, $7.7 billion was through the China Development Bank and the Export Bank. Import Bank of China for six projects were forwarded.

Argentina and the People’s Bank of China agree to a $1.7 billion deal for IMF debt

According to Francisco Urdinez of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Milei’s presidential campaign followed a well-known far-right plan previously implemented by Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Donald Trump in the United States, attracting voters by attacking China with anti-communist rhetoric.

“But China is deeply rooted in the foundations of the local economy, so reducing the level of dependence is not easy,” Urdinez said.

“Pragmatism will prevail and in the end the relationship with Beijing will be the same as in previous governments.”

Urdinez believed that it would be difficult for Milei and his team to re-examine agreements already concluded with Beijing, as they all contain clauses that impose penalties for violations.

It would be “quite complicated” and pose “serious problems” to pursue such a path, he added. “The reason will be to put our heads down, put aside ideological speeches and implement the agreements.”

Source : www.scmp.com

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