TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Argentina hopes to announce an agreement on the Chinese-financed construction of the Atucha III nuclear power plant during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit on Sunday following the summit of leaders of G20 industrialized nations in Buenos Aires, Juan Pablo Tripodi, head of Argentina's national investment agency, told Reuters in an interview.
The potential deal, reportedly worth up to $8 billion, is emblematic of China's strengthening of economic, diplomatic and cultural ties with Argentina. It is part of a wider push by Beijing into Latin America that has alarmed the United States, which views the region as its backyard and is suspicious of China's motives.
The focus of this week's meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of G20 will be on their two countries' trade war, but the backdrop will be the competition between the powers for influence in Latin America.
When Argentina negotiated a $56.3 billion financing deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to rescue its troubled economy earlier this year, Trump voiced his support for the plan and President Mauricio Macri's leadership.
But it is China that has emerged as Argentina's critical trading partner, investor and financier, a Reuters review of trade and investment data shows, with Beijing pumping billions into Argentina's economy and positioning itself as a reliable lender for its crisis-stricken economy.
China and Argentina are expected to seal a currency swap deal this weekend that doubles the original amount of the credit line to $18.7 billion. The deal will make China the biggest non-institutional lender to Argentina.