Brazil’s Lula puts U.S., China among his first official visits

Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. File

Brazil’s President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. File
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will make his first official trip to Argentina at the end of January, before visiting the United States, Portugal and China, an official said Tuesday.

Mr. Lula, as the 77-year-old leader is commonly known, will participate in the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), which takes place on January 23 and 24 in Buenos Aires.

The leftist leader, who was sworn in as president of the South American country for the third time on Sunday, will meet with U.S. counterpart Joe Biden in Washington, on a still “undated” trip, according to a source in the president’s office.

The trip to China, Brazil’s largest trading partner, will be “after March,” the same source added.

China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday confirmed an invitation to the Brazilian president, although it did not provide a date for his visit.

“China places high importance on the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership, and welcomes President Lula’s visit to China at a time convenient for both parties,” spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a briefing.

Senior Chinese official Wang Qishan attended Mr. Lula’s inauguration ceremony in Brazil on Sunday.

The Brazilian presidency also confirmed that Mr. Lula will be in Portugal from April 22 to 25.

Mr. Lula, who led Latin America’s largest economy twice between 2003 and 2010, is giving the first signs of wanting to break Brazil’s international isolation after four years under far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

In his inauguration speech in Congress, he announced a new role for Brazil in the world by resuming “South American integration” and the reconstruction of the “high and active dialogue with the United States, the European Community and China.”

The new foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, said Monday at the inauguration ceremony that Brazil will have “a huge reconstruction job” after the “unprecedented setback” of Bolsonaro’s reign.

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