Source: wechat official account: Bu Yidao has been authorized to reprint
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it is as expected!
Colombia elected the first left-wing president in its history, which immediately triggered an “exaggerated interpretation” of public opinion in the United States and Europe: China is “quietly promoting its chess pieces” in Colombia. They even took the first subway line under construction in Colombia as a prominent case to prove that Colombia’s diplomacy is taking a “critical turn”:
It means “going against the wishes of the United States and getting close to China”.
They also speculated whether this was an “adventure” for Bogota.
Obviously, the election of petro has strengthened the return momentum of the current “pink wave” in Latin America, but it also makes the United States, which regards Latin America as its “backyard”, feel anxious and begin to “worry” about the diplomatic trend of Colombia.
As soon as the first round of voting in the Colombian presidential election ended on May 29, American and European public opinion focused on the so-called “accelerating the extension of China’s tentacles” in Colombia. At that time, petro was ahead of his opponent by a large margin and was considered “likely to become the first left-wing president of Colombia”.
After 20 days, the dust settled, and petro officially won the second round of voting. Some US and European media have long been “worried” about the direction of Colombia’s diplomacy, which immediately becomes more “urgent”:
Is Bogot Congress closer to China?
Some French media said that Colombia is increasingly turning to China for investment and financing, and Beijing is fully capable of increasing its influence in Colombia.
The first Metro in Colombia is said to be a typical case of such “close interaction” between the two countries.
This metro line, located in the capital Bogota, is under construction in full swing. It is said that Colombians envisioned the construction of the subway as early as the 1950s. Decades later, their dream, or even an “ancient dream”, finally came true. The whole project costs nearly 4billion euros and is expected to be completed in 2028.
The focus of the western media is that Bogota Metro Line 1 was entrusted to a Chinese enterprise, which was built by China Harbour Engineering Co., Ltd.
Although the funds for this project mainly come from Colombia itself and international organizations such as the world bank, Chinese enterprises only undertake the construction. But not surprisingly, some western “experts” immediately discovered “great significance” from this subway line:
This is a “symbol of China’s new ambition” and “symbol of China’s rise”, because China is further “reaching the backyard of the United States”.
Seeing that “in a few years, Colombia, which is so close to the United States, has seen a doubling of China’s construction projects”, some so-called “experts” even said that he thought that “China would not risk attacking Colombia”, because Colombia is too close to Washington geographically and politically. But now, he said, “this is clearly not the case.”.
Bogota Metro Line 1 project “belongs to China” and has been exaggerated as “a turning point in Colombia’s foreign policy”.
What’s the turning point?
That is to go against the wishes of the United States and get close to China, or even “make love to China”. With Colombia “having to choose between Beijing and Washington,” is this “a risky strategy” for it? Asked the French media.
In particular, considering that Colombia’s “getting close to Beijing” was initiated by a conservative government “accustomed to looking at the United States rather than China in the East”, western public opinion is even more “nervous”.
Colombia became the first “global partner” of NATO in Latin America in 2017. In May this year, it was just granted the status of “non NATO major ally” by the Biden administration to the United States.
However, since taking office in 2018, Duke has greatly accelerated the pace of deepening relations with China and increased the opening to Beijing. He will pay an official visit to China in 2019. If it is not for the impact of the COVID-19, he plans to make a second visit. It is said that the Duke government is also considering following the example of other Latin American countries to join the “the Belt and Road” initiative.
Now, the election of petro as the first left-wing president in Colombia’s history not only adds momentum to the return of Latin America’s “pink wave”, but also brings Colombia “an opportunity to break away from the embrace of America’s eldest brother”, according to many American and European media.
There is no doubt that Colombia is close to the United States.
Colombia and the United States have established diplomatic relations for 201 years. On the 200th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries last year, when the then president Duke was interviewed by Fox News of the United States, he gave his praise to the cooperation between the two countries, especially the security cooperation.
“The close coordination between the two countries has promoted better ‘law and order’ in Colombia.” the “Columbia plan” is “a major diplomatic success” in the recent history of us Latin American relations
Is project Columbia really that good?
The “Columbia plan” was officially launched in August 2000. It is one of the most important foreign policies of the United States towards Colombia in recent years. At the beginning of the plan, it described a very beautiful vision: severely cracking down on drug trafficking groups, accelerating the peace process, eradicating corruption and crime, promoting economic development, and so on.
In fact, Colombia has made some progress in combating drug trafficking and crime with the military assistance provided by the United States. However, the United States also encourages the fight against Colombian guerrilla forces in the name of destroying the drug trade, further complicating Colombia’s domestic problems and making it difficult to advance the peace process.
Paterson, the then Colombian ambassador to the United States, once said in no secret that “Washington will take the drug control as an opportunity to help the Colombian army deal with its Marxist opponents (i.e. left-wing guerrillas).”
Such tactics of “selling dog meat by hanging sheep’s head” have also brought about derivative problems such as environmental pollution, official corruption and poverty. For example, one of the anti drug measures given by the “Columbia plan” is to spray herbicides to kill coca, but this also turns farmland into barren land.
There is a saying that the US assistance to Colombia has dragged Colombia into a “more serious abyss”.
Obviously, the United States pays more attention to what it can get and achieve in its exchanges with Colombia, regardless of what it will bring to Colombia and what it will leave behind.
We have seen much of this bossy and selfish attitude in American foreign exchanges. Just put it on Colombia, it will inevitably make people feel cold.
For most of the 201 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Colombia has spared no effort to follow the United States.
Colombia was the only Latin American country that participated in the Korean War. Colombian soldiers have directly fought with the Chinese people’s Volunteer Army in the Shangganling and Hanjiang regions.
Enrique Posada, a Colombian Sinologist who has been living in Beijing for many years since the 1960s, once wrote: “the result of this useless adventure is that… A Colombian flag pierced by bullets from the Chinese volunteer army is displayed in their military museum… I blush when I see it.”
In recent years, Colombia has always maintained a consistent position with the United States on most important diplomatic occasions, such as severely condemning Russia. Similar moves have once led some Colombian scholars to question the independence of their foreign policy.
Biden said that the two countries have a “unique and close relationship” and that “Colombia is the key to the southern hemisphere”.
Washington has always used these “lip service” in exchange for more practical benefits, especially for Colombia, which is too important for the United States.
In terms of geographical location, Colombia is the only two ocean country in South America, and its strategic position is self-evident. Moreover, it is too close to the United States: Bogota is less than four hours away from Miami and less than three hours away from the coast.
In terms of natural resources, Colombia is the largest coal importer and the seventh largest oil exporter of the United States.
In terms of economy, Colombia is the fourth largest economy and the third most populous country in Latin America, with a large market volume.
For a long time, Colombia has a strong economic dependence on the United States. The United States is Colombia’s largest trading partner, largest importer and largest exporter.
After the United States, China is Colombia’s second largest trading partner, second largest importer and second largest exporter.
In the same interview with Fox last year, Duke gave a long answer to the question “is China’s influence in Latin America worrisome” that reporters were obviously digging holes. The core meaning is one. He does not think that China’s strategic trade and infrastructure investment in Latin America is a “threat”.
“I always call on other countries to actively participate in our infrastructure bidding… They must participate more, not only in Colombia, but also in other countries in Latin America, because their bids are transparent and open”.
“Is it negative for China to invest in infrastructure? No, I don’t think so, because it is a transparent bid.”
Obviously, the Duke government has maintained an open attitude towards China’s investment in Colombia.
When President Duke visited China in July 2019, Colombia signed 15 cooperation documents with China, involving many cooperation in economy, industry, agricultural products, infrastructure construction and so on. He also said at that time: “I hope that more Chinese enterprises can invest in Colombia in the future, and that Colombia can have more high-quality products to enter the Chinese market.”
Because of this, in recent years, the economic and trade cooperation between China and Colombia has increased day by day.
According to the statistics in the guidelines for countries (regions) of foreign investment and cooperation (2021 Edition) issued by the Ministry of Commerce of the people’s Republic of China, in 2020, Chinese enterprises signed 183 new contract projects in Colombia, with a newly signed contract amount of $2.813 billion and a turnover of $257million. A total of 679 workers of various types were dispatched, and 606 workers were in Colombia at the end of the year.
In addition to the construction of Bogota Metro Line 1 in Colombia by China harbor mentioned earlier, in 2019, large-scale engineering contracting projects newly signed by Chinese enterprises include the Colombian telecom project undertaken by Huawei and the Colombian Claro service project undertaken by ZTE in 2017.
What about the economic and trade cooperation between the United States and Colombia?
Duke mentioned that the United States and Colombia have a “long-term relationship based on principles and values”. Therefore, more than 100 American companies have been in the country for more than 50 years.
The depth and breadth of such cooperation are unmatched by any other country at present.
However, in this way, some American media are still jealous, and even do not hesitate to distort the normal economic and trade exchanges between other countries and Colombia. They really regard Colombia as the “backyard” of the United States.
However, such “Monroe Doctrine” has long been out of date.