Lula da Silva begins his visit to China: “Brazil is back”

Lula da Silva

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva assured on Thursday (04.13.2023) that his country is “back” on the international scene, at the start of a trip to China to discuss the conflict in Ukraine and investments. The leftist leader, who arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday night, will meet his counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday to try to form a group of mediating countries in the conflict that is ravaging Ukraine.

 “The time when Brazil was absent from the big world decisions is already a thing of the past. We are back on the international scene after an inexplicable absence,” he said in his first official act. Lula participated on Thursday in Shanghai in the inauguration of former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016) as president of the BRICS bank, the group of large emerging countries that brings together Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa.

Since his return to power on January 1, the leftist leader wants to place Brazil “in the new world geopolitics” and leave behind the isolationism of his predecessor, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

Strengthening economic relations

Finally, the Brazilian leader arrived in Shanghai accompanied by his wife Rosangela “Janja” da Silva and was received at the airport by the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Xie Feng. Lula heads a delegation that includes some 40 political representatives, including nine ministers, state governors and deputies, and a large group of businessmen.

It is the fourth official visit to China for Lula, who began his third term as president in January, after the two he served from 2003 to 2010. Since his first term, relations between China and Brazil experienced a strong boost. After Lula’s first visit in 2004, the volume of trade between the two economies grew 21 times, according to Planalto.

In 2022, the Asian giant imported more than 89.7 billion dollars worth, especially soybeans and minerals, and exported 60.7 billion dollars, according to figures from the Brazilian presidency. “We are going to consolidate our relationship with China. I am going to invite Xi Jinping to Brazil for a bilateral meeting, to show him the projects for which we are interested in Chinese investment,” Lula said before traveling. The two countries have in common the fact that they have not imposed sanctions on Russia, and they hope to play a mediating role.