Milei thanks Chinese president, in softening of tone

He had previously called for severing diplomatic ties with Argentina's second-largest trading partner

Argentine President-elect Javier Milei on Wednesday thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for a letter congratulating him on last Sunday’s election results, a softening of tone from earlier harsh criticism of China’s communist leadership.

“I thank President Xi Jinping for the congratulations and good wishes,” Milei said on his personal X account.

“I send him my most sincere wishes for the Chinese people’s wellbeing,” he said, sharing a picture of a letter from Xi translated into Spanish.

Campaigning for election, Milei, a radical libertarian, had struck a very different tone, suggesting he would balk at doing business with China because of its government’s restrictions on individual freedoms.

China is Argentina’s second-largest trade partner, after Brazil.

China’s Xi said in his congratulatory message to the South American leader that he attaches great importance to the development of China-Argentina relations, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said.

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“I am ready to work with President-elect Milei to continue the China-Argentina friendship, help the development and revitalization of our respective countries through win-win cooperation, and promote steady and far-reaching development of China-Argentina relations,” Xi said in his message to Milei.

Xi added that both countries are large developing countries and important emerging market countries that have firmly supported each other on issues involving their core interests.

Milei, who will take office on Dec. 10, will inherit a country in economic crisis, with triple-digit annual inflation, depleted foreign reserves and a poverty rate that has climbed above 40%.

Milei had also criticized the BRICS group of major emerging economies, which includes China, alongside the South American Mercosur trade bloc and neighbor Brazil, the region’s largest economy.

Since the election, Milei has softened his tone with many he has previously criticized, including fellow Argentine Pope Francis.

In a separate post on Wednesday, Milei thanked former U.S. President Donald Trump for congratulations from his campaign team and said he hoped to meet soon. His team later said in a press release that Trump had promised to visit Argentina but did not specify when.

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