No menu items!

Opinion: Lula’s delegation goes to China amid strengthening bloc of anti-western dictators

By Wesley Oliveira

(Opinion) A delegation of nearly 250 people led by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) disembarks next week in China.

This comes amidst increased efforts by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to create an ideological bloc of countries united by anti-western sentiment.

On Tuesday (21), Xi Jinping met in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is isolated internationally after determining the invasion of Ukraine last year.

China, Opinion: Lula’s delegation goes to China amid strengthening bloc of anti-western dictators
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Brazilian President Lula da Silva (Photo internet reproduction)

He is the target of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court (UN-linked body) for participation in war crimes. Nevertheless, Putin was still invited by Jinping to return the visit and travel to China soon.

This was the most crucial diplomatic action between the two nations since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Jinping’s visit showed the willingness of Beijing and Moscow to strengthen their partnership.

According to Western analysts, this union could be the basis of a front of countries united ideologically by resentment against the United States and its European allies.

China and Russia say Western military forces are pressuring them.

NATO (the Western military alliance) is said to be increasingly exerting influence over countries and seas that Beijing and Moscow consider their areas of power, especially in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

But, a joint document was released stating that the partnership is not a political-military alliance.

Earlier this month, Jinping had negotiated the resumption of dialogue between two other dictatorships: Iran and Saudi Arabia.

According to analysts, the Chinese President is working to attract the two countries to the bloc formed by authoritarian governments, including North Korea, an ally of China.

Another country that is being courted is South Africa, although it is a democracy.

Lula’s entourage will arrive in China five days after Jinping’s visit to Putin.

Therefore, it is in this context of consolidation of a scenario that analysts call “Cold War 2.0” that Brazil is going to Beijing.

The Brazilian argument is to negotiate commercial agreements and attract investments, but it is unclear whether Xi Jinping will try to bring Lula closer to his ideological group.


Since he returned to power this year, President Lula has been trying to resume the foreign policy of his first governments.

It was focused on making Brazil a more relevant country on the international scene.

At the time, Lula negotiated the country’s participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

The goal of getting a permanent seat on the UN Security Council never materialized, but Haiti received significant help from the Brazilian military for 13 consecutive years.

Lula also tried to mediate a failed agreement to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, financed the reform of the Port of Mariel in Cuba, and tried to increase the presence of Brazilian companies in Africa, among other international actions.

The President visited the United States, Argentina, and Uruguay this year.

But the relevance of the practical results of these trips is questioned by critics. This is because no significant agreement was signed.

The Planalto Palace delegation now sees the trip to China as strategic for Brazil and minimizes that the host government is a communist autocracy.

Lula arrives in Beijing on the 26th, leading 240 people.

Among them are 90 agribusiness representatives, 24 deputies, six senators, and governors and ministers.


The Brazilian government assesses that it would be necessary to strengthen relations with the Asian giant, the country’s leading trading partner since 2009.

In 2022, Brazil recorded a trade surplus of about US$30 billion with China, mainly because of exporting products such as soybeans, meat, and minerals.

Last year, the total Brazilian trade surplus was approximately US$60 billion.

Roughly speaking, trade with China was responsible for half of this positive result.

Now, the Brazilian government expects at least 20 agreements to be signed in agribusiness, science and technology, trade, education, and culture.

Furthermore, the PT government believes that the rapprochement with Beijing can pressure the United States government to offer Brazil new investment, trade, and cooperation partnerships.

This is because, traditionally, Itamaraty’s foreign policy adopts a posture of non-alignment with any power.

For this reason, Brazil is seen abroad as a pendulum country – which momentarily aligns itself with the nation that offers the most advantages.

For the Secretary of Asia and Pacific of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE), Ambassador Eduardo Paes Saboia, Lula’s visit to China, soon after the meeting with the President of the United States, Joe Biden, in February, does not imply diplomatic uneasiness.

“There is no diplomatic discomfort; Lula went to the United States, and other leaders will go to China. It is natural; visits and contacts between leaders help improve things,” Saboia said.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Favaro, the government will work on trade agreements and simplifying import and export processes through digitalization. Another objective is to open markets for new Brazilian products with the Chinese authorities.

“It is a very eclectic committee, including the diversity of Brazilian agribusiness, not only those interested in selling their products but also in buying so that we can move forward in agribusiness,” explained Favaro.

But, the group should also have controversial travelers, such as businessmen Joesley and Wesley Batista, from the JBS group.

Flagged for corruption related to the Workers’ Party, they signed a whistle-blower agreement with Justice in 2017.


Despite Itamaraty’s strategy to minimize criticism because of a possible rapprochement with the Xi Jinping regime, US senators questioned officials from the Joe Biden administration about Brazil’s dependence on Beijing.

Last week, in the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the parliamentarians received Brian Nichols, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Richard Duke, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate.

The goal was to discuss the state of diplomatic relations between Brazil and the US.

“China is now Brazil’s largest trading partner and the largest market for many of Brazil’s commodities.”

“It is also the largest investor in infrastructure projects. China has invested in building strong relationships with legislators and other Brazilian leaders.”

“There is a strong pro-China base in the country,” said Duke, an aide to John Kerry, former Secretary of State, who has been in Brazil recently.

The US government has shown concern about expanding Chinese influence in Latin America, primarily through the New Silk Road.

This initiative to finance infrastructure projects in developing nations peaked in 2016 and has declined recently.

The Global Development Initiative program will gradually replace it.

Brazil is not formally part of the Chinese project but still receives investments from Beijing through Chinese companies established in the country.

In addition, the senators charged that the US government should increase pressure on Brazil to condemn Russia in the Ukraine war.

“The truth is that Brazil has not been very supportive of sanctions against Russia,” said Senator the Democrat Ben Cardin.

Republican Ricketts recalled Brazil’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and questioned the “lack of support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity” and the refusal to send the country anti-aircraft defense munitions.

China, Opinion: Lula’s delegation goes to China amid strengthening bloc of anti-western dictators
Lula defended forming a “peace club” involving several countries to mediate a peaceful solution to the Russian invasion (Photo internet reproduction)


Brazil depends on imports of fertilizers from Russia and has avoided criticizing Moscow openly.

President Lula even claimed he could solve the war in Ukraine by inviting Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “have a beer.”

Later, Lula defended forming a “peace club” involving several countries to mediate a peaceful solution to the Russian invasion.

The idea even had the support of French President Emmanuel Macron.

But despite launching the idea, Lula has never objectively spoken out on the critical point that has frustrated all attempts to mediate peace in Ukraine.

The peace proposal advocated by Zelensky and supported by the West is based on the premise of the withdrawal of all Russian troops from invaded Ukrainian territory.

On the other hand, Russia wants a ceasefire that would consolidate the borders for the moment without withdrawing troops.

This would mean that Ukraine would have to give up part of four of its provinces and the Crimean peninsula.

On Tuesday (21), Putin backed a Chinese peace proposal put forward last week by Xi Jinping.

Although it seeks to end hostilities, this proposal favors Russia by not requesting the withdrawal of Kremlin troops from invaded territory in Ukraine.

The West assesses that such a ceasefire would give Russia more time to prepare new armed offensives.

With information from Gazeta do Povo

Check out our other content