Venezuela cancelled order for Russian-made BMP-3 fighting vehicles, prefers Chinese vehicles
According to Russian media, the Venezuelan Marine Corps Command is considering purchasing armored vehicles from China, but the specific type and quantity are not yet clear. The expected purchase appears to correspond, however, with the Venezuelan Marine Corps’ plan to procure $500 million in new weapons and equipment. An order for BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles and BTR-80 armored personnel carriers from Russia was cancelled prior to reports of a planned purchase from China. Currently, the Venezuelan Marine Corps 1st Brigade combat formation consists of one amphibious armored battalion, equipped with 11 LVTP-7 (AAVT-7) tracked armored personnel carriers and 38 EE–11 wheeled armored personnel carriers.
Trade between Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean has developed rapidly
The report “Shaping the Future of the Asia-Latin America and the Caribbean Relationship,” published by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Asian Development Bank, was released on May 5th at the ADB’s Annual Meeting in Manila, Philippines. According to the study, trade between Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) expanded at an annual rate of 20.5 percent for the past 12 years. Two-way commerce reached an estimated $442 billion in 2011. Asia now accounts for 21 percent of LAC’s international trade, narrowing the gap with the U.S., which accounts for 34 percent of the region’s trade. Over the past decade LAC’s share of Asian trade doubled to 4.4 percent. Despite economic benefits for both sides, the pattern of trade has generated concern among LAC nations regarding the risks of specialization in basic commodities. Governments on both sides of the Pacific can work to lower trade barriers and increase the scope of current and future free trade agreements, the study finds.
Colombia is expected to become Chinese enterprises’ “going out” fulcrum
Chinese oil company Sinochem recently signed a crude oil transportation pipeline project cooperation agreement with Colombia, which established conditions for Chinese energy company operations in Colombia. According to the President of SinoChem Colombia operations, Cui Jianjun, Sinochem plans to work closely with Columbia’s top five oil companies in the near future, and to use the oil transportation pipeline to open new channels for oil sales to the Pacific. The pipeline is expected to be completed by 2017.
Due to significant economic complementarity with China, geographic advantages, and an improving domestic security situation, Colombia is expected to become a “going out” fulcrum for Chinese enterprises. Colombia is attractive because of its multilateral trade agreements with Canada, Mexico and most Central and South American countries. Colombia’s free trade agreement with the United States enables Chinese enterprises to access the US market through engagement with Colombia.
China has become Colombia’s second largest trading partner. In 2011, bilateral trade reached USD $8.227 billion, an increase of nearly 40 percent over the previous year. More than 30 Chinese companies have registered or set up offices in Colombia. China Development Bank recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Colombian Ministry of Energy and Mining to strengthen bilateral cooperation in energy and mining sectors.
CPC delegation visits Cuba, Peru and Brazil
A Chinese Communist Party delegation left Beijing on May 19, 2012 for a visit to Brazil, Peru, and Cuba. The delegation met with representatives from the Brazilian Labor Party (PTB), the Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP) and the Cuban Communist Party (PCC). The party secretary of China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region took part in the visits.
Experts say drug wars are converting Mexico into a “failed state”
来源：人民网 (based on an article in the Colombian press) 2012年05月20日
Edgardo Buscaglia, former UN security advisor and expert on trafficking and organized crime, has said that Mexico is becoming a “failed state” due to accelerating violence among drug cartels. In the past five years, the death toll in Mexico’s drug wars was approximately 50,000. Last year, the conflict claimed the lives of nearly 13,000 civilians. Corruption has enabled gangs to infiltrate most all national institutions. In 2008, organized criminal groups controlled 63 percent of Mexico’s cities. They now control 98 percent. The presidential election also is thought to be funded in part by criminal organizations. There is very little agreement among political parties regarding implementation of drug- and crime-related reforms.
On May 17th, Hong Kong regulatory agencies approved IPO plans for Chinalco’s subsidiary, Aluminum Mining Company. The company plans to raise US$ 1 billion in capital through the IPO. Its core asset is its stake in the Peruvian Toromocho copper mine, which was acquired by Chinalco from a Canadian mining firm in April 2008 for US $860 million.
According to Chinalco, the Toromocho mine contains about 12 million tons of copper. Toromocho’s quantity of copper is equivalent to approximately 19 percent of China’s total domestic copper reserves. China’s expected investment in the mine is estimated at US$ 2.15 billion. By the end of the March of 2011, Chinalco had already invested approximately US$ 548.5 million in the project. Chinalco is expected to begin actual mining operations by the end of 2013.