- The Washington Times - Monday, May 24, 2004

BEIJING — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva pressed China yesterday to forge closer ties so the world’s most powerful developing nations can better stamp their mark on issues of international concern.

In an interview with the China Daily, Mr. Lula da Silva described Brazil as the “greatest developing country from the West” and China as “the greatest developing country of the Eastern Hemisphere.”

“Brazil and China share the vision of an international order that is more just and equitable, based on multipolarity and on respect for international law,” said the former union leader.

“This convergence of views opens the possibility that we can develop a growing coordination with other developing countries, so that our interests are taken into account in the discussions of the great international issues.”

Mr. Lula da Silva, on the second day of a five-day visit to China that he said could be the most important trip of his presidential term, met his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, at the Great Hall of the People for an hour yesterday.

“I believe this visit will definitely increase understanding and trust between the two countries and push forward the strategic partnership between China and Brazil,” said Mr. Hu. Mr. Lula da Silva said the two countries share many mutual interests and should form a broad alliance.

They later signed a joint communique, while delegation members signed other agreements to promote cooperation in health, commerce, science, agriculture, food safety and sports.

The two countries joined forces last year in the G-20 group of developing nations that brought World Trade Organization talks in Cancun, Mexico, to a standstill over demands that rich countries eliminate farm subsidies.

China is already a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, while Brazil is seeking support for its efforts to obtain a permanent seat.

Brazil and China “can also work together for the conclusion of the WTO’s Doha round within the agreed mandate and time frame,” Mr. Lula da Silva told China Daily.

Mr. Lula da Silva heads to Shanghai today, where he will attend a World Bank-backed conference on poverty reduction, one of the key aims of the G-20 bloc. Bilaterally, he is keen to boost exports to China to help Brazil’s struggling economy, and has brought with him a large business delegation.

Brazil is China’s largest trade partner in Latin America, and China is Brazil’s fourth-largest trade partner, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said the trip would also strengthen the relationship with Mercosur, an organization that groups Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Those ties are likely to be further solidified when Argentine President Nestor Kirchner visits China from June 28 to July 2.

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