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Latin America Was Once an Afterthought for China… Not Anymore

In just the past twenty years, China’s trade with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean surged 26-fold to almost half-a-trillion dollars. The region is also now a major destination for Chinese foreign investment and becoming a critically important new front in China’s geopolitical confrontation with the United States.

While there’s no dispute that China is now a major player in the region, knowledge about Chinese engagement in the Americas nonetheless remains surprisingly low, particularly among key stakeholders in Latin America.

A new book, China and Latin America: Development, Agency and Geopolitics by two scholars at the London School of Economics (LSE) aims to change that. Álvaro Méndez, director of LSE’s Global South Unit and International Relations Professor Chris Alden join Eric & Cobus to discuss why the Americas is now central to China’s global strategy.

Show Notes:

About Álvaro Méndez and Chris Alden:

Álvaro Méndez is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the LSE Global South Unit. He is a Senior Associate Fellow and the Academic Director of short programs at LSE IDEAS. He is an Adjunct Professor and Foreign Expert at the Institute for Global Public Policy (IGPP) at Fudan University in Shanghai. Méndez is also an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), and an International Advisory Board member of l’Observatoire Politique de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes at Sciences Po Paris. He teaches at LSE, Sciences Po, Peking University, and Fudan. He has won numerous teaching awards such as the 2003-2004 IR Departmental Teaching Prize in recognition of his teaching of International Relations at the LSE.

Chris Alden teaches International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and is Director of LSE IDEAS. He is a Research Associate with South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). He is author/co-author of numerous books, including Apartheid’s Last Stand – the Rise and Fall of the South African Security State (Palgrave 1996), Mozambique and the Construction of the New African State (Palgrave 2003), South Africa’s Post-Apartheid Foreign Policy (Adelphi Paper IISS 2003), China in Africa (Zed 2007), Land, Liberation and Compromise in Southern Africa (Palgrave/Macmillan 2009) The South and World Politics (Palgrave 2010), Foreign Policy Analysis – New Approaches 2nd edition (Routledge 2017), and co-editor of China and Mozambique: from Comrades to Capitalist (Johannesburg: Jacana 2014), China Returns to Africa (Hurst 2008), China and Africa – Building Peace and Security Cooperation on the Continent (Palgrave 2017), New Directions in Africa-China Studies (Routledge 2019) as well as having written numerous articles in internationally recognised journals.

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