The Quiet Official Behind China’s Policy in Latin America

By Rich Brown

What Cai Wei’s travels tell us about China’s priorities in the region.

When Cai Wei visited Buenos Aires in July 2022 as the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s director-general for Latin America and the Caribbean, he took a controversial detour. Cai accompanied an Argentine official to the Malvinas Museum, founded to memorialize Argentina’s claims to the islands otherwise known as the Falklands, where the official thanked China for its support on the matter—a major point of contention with the UK. Argentina’s relationship with China has only deepened since. In April, Argentina agreed to start paying $790 million per month for Chinese imports in yuan rather...

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