Relations between the People’s Republic of China and Latin America are characterized more by expanding trade flows and business connections than by establishing traditional political or military ties. China’s emergence in the region is peaceful and constructive. China’s rise in Latin America provides more opportunities than challenges for both Latin American and the United States, because:

First, China behaves as a “responsible stake-holder” in Latin America. Compared with Russia’s “security and military-technical cooperation” with Latin American, China’s engagements have been more constructive. Indeed, China’s purchase of commodity has been the main factor for Latin America’s economic growth in the last decade.

Second, China offers an alternative model for Latin American economic development. Beijing’s emergence has prompted many Latin American countries to reexamine whether the Washington Consensus is truly viable for them. As China becomes a member of Inter-American Development Bank, Beijing can contribute even more to Latin America’s development.

Third, Latin America serves as a valuable proving ground for a “diplomatic truce” between China and Taiwan. Gestures such as allowing Taiwan’s former vice-President to attend the APEC 2008 meeting in Peru shows that China is less interested in “isolating” Taiwan in the region than establishing a workable equilibrium to promote security. The more stable the relation between Beijing and Taipei maintains, the more economic opportunity provides to Latin America and the United States.