Argentina’s Milei thanks Chinese president, in softening of tone

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -Argentine President-elect Javier Milei on Wednesday thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for a letter congratulating him on last Sunday’s elections results, a softening of tone from earlier harsh criticism of China’s communist leadership.

“I thank President Xi Jinping for the congratulations and good wishes,” Milei said on his personal X account. “I send him my most sincere wishes for the Chinese people’s wellbeing.”

China is Argentina’s second-largest trade partner, after Brazil.

Milei also shared a picture of a Tuesday letter from Xi translated into Spanish, in which the Chinese leader says he is ready to work together and highlights the importance of bilateral ties between the two emerging economies.

“Our countries abide by mutual respect, equal treatment, mutual benefit and shared rewards,” the letter says. “Practical cooperation in different areas brings tangible benefits to both our peoples.”

Milei, who will take office on Dec. 10, will inherit a country in economic crisis, with a triple-digit annual inflation, depleted foreign reserves and a poverty rate that has climbed above 40%.

Milei had also criticized the BRICS group of major emerging economies, which includes China, alongside the South American Mercosur trade bloc and neighbor Brazil, the region’s largest economy.

Since the election, Milei has softened his tone with many he has previously criticized, including his countryman Pope Francis.

In a separate post on Wednesday, Milei thanked former U.S. President Donald Trump for congratulations from his campaign team and said he hoped to meet soon.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Gabriel Araujo; Writing by Sarah Morland; Editing by Kylie Madry)