China’s President To Visit Five Latin American Countries
BEIJING (AP) _ President Yang Shangkun will visit five Latin American countries in mid- May, the latest in a series of trips by Chinese leaders to court better relations with the Third World.
The Foreign Ministry said today that the 82-year-old Yang will make official visits to Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
High-level official contacts with the West have virtually stopped since China’s military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement last spring, and the Beijing government has sought to fill the diplomatic gap by stressing its Third World ties.
Yang visited Egypt and three other Middle East countries in December and Premier Li Peng traveled to Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh in November.
Foreign Minister Qian Qichen has traveled extensively through Africa, the Middle East and India.
The post of president is largely ceremonial, but Yang, a former general in the People’s Liberation Army, is one of China’s most powerful political figures because of his strong military links.
Foreign China-watchers say Yang is a top candidate to succeed 85-year-old Deng Xiaoping as China’s paramount leader.