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Cooperating with China in Latin America

The United States and China, as important investors in the region, could find ways to work together on helping Latin American and Caribbean governments tackle crime and insecurity.

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The United States and China, as important investors in the region, could find ways to work together on helping Latin American and Caribbean governments tackle crime and insecurity. And the United States should seek China’s cooperation in the various institutions that comprise the Inter-American system—a system that makes a fundamental commitment to democracy and human rights. The United States could use these multilateral forums to ask China to uphold its commitments to promote a more equitable economic world order, as well as democracy in the international system.

China’s presence in Latin America and the Caribbean will continue to grow. So the sooner the Obama administration can find ways to cooperate with China in the region the better. Doing so would strengthen the United States’ standing in the region and would foster trust with one of its most important global economic partners—who happens to be evolving into a potential commercial rival to it south. In sum, focusing on an agenda that fosters mutual respect and engages Latin America and the Caribbean and its associates in finding solutions to regional and global challenges will not only deliver on the United States’ promise of seeking a “new era of partnership,” but perhaps succeed in turning a rival into an ally.

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