- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese and Argentine leaders on Wednesday signed a batch of agreements, including collaboration on two new nuclear power plants, as Beijing is strengthening its relations with the South American country.

On a state visit to China, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and the two countries signed 15 agreements covering travel visas, information technology, media, energy, space technology and financing. The financial amounts of the deals were not disclosed.

Kirchner said two nuclear plants would be built in Argentina with transfer of technology from China, calling the move a “gateway for the deepening of this strategic relationship.”

China also is helping Argentina build infrastructure such as dams and railways. Beijing recently helped Buenos Aires stabilize its peso with a currency swap as Argentina struggles to shore up its foreign reserves.

“Both sides are committed to strengthening our cooperation in various fields, especially our cooperation on basic infrastructure development … and in promoting the sound and stable development of bilateral trade,” Xi said.

The world’s second-largest economy has been strengthening ties with Latin American and African countries in hopes of building a global stature commensurate with its economic power.

China has pledged $250 billion in investments in Latin America over the next five years as part of a drive to boost Beijing’s influence in the region.

In an indication of China’s importance to Argentina, Kirchner told her Chinese host she was visiting Beijing against medical advice for her foot injury. “I came out of my desire to be here with you, with our partners who are coming to sign agreements,” Kirchner said.

At the signing ceremony, Kirchner touted several China-Argentina projects, including the Cepernic Kirchner dams, the Belgrano Cargas railway and the Atucha nuclear plant.

 

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