The President of the United States, Joe Biden, received leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean at the White House on Friday to discuss economic and migration issues in an attempt to strengthen relations in the region to face China and other competitors. global.
Leaders from Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay attended the meeting, as well as high-ranking representatives from Mexico and Panama.
Biden kicked off the inaugural Leaders’ Summit of the Alliance of the Americas for Economic Prosperity (APEP) with a message of hope despite the many foreign policy challenges posed by the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the attempts in Ukraine to reject the Russian invaders.
Biden said the goal is to “use the incredible potential of the American economy and make the Western Hemisphere the most economically competitive region in the world,” in sharp contrast to China’s practices.
“We want to make sure our closest neighbors know they can choose between debt trap diplomacy and transparent, high-quality infrastructure and underdevelopment approaches,” Biden declared.
“All we have to do is continue to deliver on the positive vision we share for a safe, prosperous, and democratic region.”
The United States will announce new funds to promote the development of countries that host migrants in the Western Hemisphere, as part of an effort to prevent the arrival of migrants at the US-Mexico border and expand economic cooperation in the region.
Six APEP countries—Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Panama—are offering legal status to millions of displaced people in the Western Hemisphere, a US official said. “They have taken a big step forward, and we are doing it for them. APEP is an important part of that,” he added.
The summit follows a meeting of Western Hemisphere leaders held last year in Los Angeles with a similar theme and is part of a broader effort to strengthen regional economic ties and reduce China’s influence in the region.
At the “Summit of the Americas” held in Los Angeles last year, Biden signed a non-binding declaration in which 20 countries in the region agreed on a series of measures to address the migration crisis.
In recent years, a record number of migrants have crossed the US-Mexico border illegally, with hundreds of thousands of people heading north after passing through a dangerous region in the forest known as the Darien Gap, between Colombia and Panama.