“China offers opportunities until we become addicted to them”

Chilean President Gabriel Boric (left) concluded his first European tour in Paris on Friday 21 July, which took him to Madrid and Brussels.

What is the outcome of your visit?

It’s very positive. I am proud to see Chile’s strong rating abroad. Our country makes its voice heard in the global geopolitical debate and, in the face of the energy transition and in the fight against the climate crisis, plays an important role. As for my interview with Emmanuel Macron, we had a conversation in particular about the values ​​we share and how each of us can fight from our own spaces to make the values ​​of democracy and human rights triumph.

In Brussels you signed a cooperation agreement with the European Union on lithium and other raw materials.

This is an agreement concerning the production of critical minerals, not only their exploitation, but also the creation of value chains and the transfer of technologies. We didn’t come to Europe just to sell stones. Chile is lucky to have certain minerals or certain energies that are important for today’s world: wind, sun, lithium, copper. But we also have knowledge, technology, professionals, and we want to make the most of them. And the agreement we signed recognizes Chile as a full partner. The idea is also to get out of the purely “extractive” model of raw materials.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers How Chile wants to become the world’s leading producer of lithium, an essential metal for the energy transition

Do you think, like your Colombian counterpart, Gustavo Petro, that the countries of the north have a responsibility towards the countries of the south because of greenhouse gas emissions?

There shouldn’t even be a discussion about it. The countries of the North are the ones that have polluted the most, and therefore have the greatest responsibility. But today, we all need to be part of the solution. No one will be saved without the others. So the answer from the countries of the South cannot be: now we will do like you. We must also set high standards regarding transition. That is why, in Chile, we have passed a law to be carbon neutral by 2050 and we hope to achieve it sooner.

The influence that China could have in Latin America is of concern among Europeans and Americans. Does China offer prospects or is it a risk for Chile?

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