China to Take Over Argentinean Space Station

EspañolOn Wednesday, February 4, Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping signed 15 separate cooperation agreements, touching on the economy, infrastructure, and energy, after a bilateral meeting in Beijing.

The deals include the construction of nuclear power stations in Argentina with Chinese technology, the financing of the Néstor Kirchner and Jorge Cepernic hydroelectric plants, and the building of a new commercial railway, as well as telecommunications and cultural agreements.

Particularly striking is the announcement that Chinese military authorities are to take full control of a lunar space station currently under construction in the municipality of Bajada del Agrio, Neuquén Province.

Chinese military contractor CLTC is to be tasked with “carrying out monitoring tasks, and the taking and recording of data under the Chinese program of lunar and space exploration missions,” according to a press release by the Argentinean ministry of planning.

“With this new relationship we’re leaving behind the old vision of Argentina as a producer of primary materials and China as a manufacturer, giving way to a genuinely strategic relationship,” Kirchner told press after signing the agreements.

The Chinese premier meanwhile highlighted his “deep and fruitful relationship” with the South American leader, whom he described as “an old friend of the Chinese people,” having met with her three times in less than a year.

Joining the two presidents at the Argentinean-Chinese Business Forum in Beijing’s Shangri-La Hotel were over 100 Argentinean business figures and 400 representatives from Chinese industry and commerce.

Kirchner flirted with controversy during the summit when she used her personal Twitter account to publish a tweet mocking the supposed tendency of Chinese people to pronounce the letter “r” as an “l.”

“Over 1,000 attendees at the event. Will they all join the Cámpora, and did they only come for the rice [arroz] and petroleum [petróleo]?”

The Cámpora is the Kirchnerista youth wing led by Máximo Kirchner, the president’s son, whose members occupy important positions in state firms and are usually present at official acts.

Kirchner subsequently responded to allegations of racism:

“Sorry. But you know what? It’s that the ridiculousness and absurdity is so much, you can only digest it with humor, otherwise it would be very, very toxic.”

The hashtag #LaCampola was soon trending on social media in Argentina following widespread criticism and jokes concerning the Argentinean president’s ill-advised tweet.

Sources: Portafolio, Terra, Telesur.

Subscribe free to our daily newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special reports delivered directly to your inbox.
You can unsubscribe at any time