Lula’s China trip set for March 26

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Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday confirmed the dates of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s trip to China. He will be in the Asian country between March 26 and 31.

Lula will meet with President Xi Jinping, who last week began an unprecedented third term in office, cementing his position as the most powerful Chinese leader in decades. Other details of the trip will be announced Friday by Ambassador Eduardo Paes Saboia, the deputy minister for Asian and Pacific affairs.

Lula is likely to be accompanied by former President Dilma Rousseff, who will take over the presidency of the Shanghai-based New Development Bank, commonly known as the BRICS bank. Nominating Ms. Rousseff to lead the bank enables the Lula administration to provide her with a prestigious position that does not require Senate confirmation — thus preserving the administration’s political capital.

It is also a form of political vindication. Ms. Rousseff was impeached in 2016 in a highly controversial process, motivated by her administration’s manipulation of the federal budget. To this day, the Workers’ Party and Lula falsely characterize her impeachment as a coup. Moreover, several politicians and parties that voted to impeach Ms. Rousseff are now part of Lula’s coalition.

In Brazil, one of the BRICS bank’s most frequent borrowers is the BNDES, Brazil’s federally owned development bank. The bank is now led by Aloizio Mercadante, who served in Ms. Rousseff’s cabinet in three different positions.

Since taking office on January 1, Lula has outlined an ambitious diplomatic agenda full of international travel. He visited Argentina and Uruguay in January and met with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in February. 

In a meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) in Buenos Aires, Lula obtained an endorsement from the region for the Amazonian city of Belém to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP) in 2025. Before that, Brazil will host the G20 conference in 2024.

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