The Colombian President, Gustavo Petro, arrived in Beijing, China, yesterday evening for an official meeting with the President of that country, Xi Jinping. During this meeting, the two presidents will discuss significant issues related to trade and diplomatic relations. It is anticipated that the Colombian head of state will address the complex issue of the construction of the Bogota metro, which is currently being carried out by a consortium involving Chinese companies.
The official visit of the Colombian president is scheduled to last for three days. Accompanying Gustavo Petro are the Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva and Deputy Minister Francisco Coy. The Chinese authorities extended a customary military welcome to the delegation, and they were greeted on the runway by the Colombian Ambassador, Sergio Cabrera. It is worth noting that the reason for the trip is an invitation from the Chinese president to the Colombian president.
Petro’s Agenda in China
Upon landing, the Colombian head of state outlined some of the most important topics on the official agenda during his visit to China. These include the refinancing of Colombia’s external debt and the reactivation of the country’s railway network, which may also involve discussions about the Bogota metro, currently under construction. Gustavo Petro is expected to advocate for his proposal to construct a section of the first metro line underground, even though the contract has already been awarded, and modifying it would require additional time and resources.
Regarding the revival of the railway, which vanished from Colombia over 30 years ago, President Petro commented that “it makes sense today if we look at it as the commercial bridge between the Pacific and the Atlantic. This practically makes us a global trade gateway, an opportunity for Colombia in terms of vital railway infrastructure development.”
“There are several aspects, beyond the importance of China in the world order and the necessity for Colombia to build strong relationships in an increasingly multipolar world. But in the midst of this, and in a concrete way, the deficit in the overall trade balance is due to a deficit with China. Overcoming this deficit would be one of the best economic policies that the country could pursue,” stated the Colombian president upon his arrival in Beijing.
Regiotram in Bogota and a new metro line in Medellin
In terms of railway projects, the Colombian president will also discuss options for the construction of the Regiotram, a suburban railway that will connect the country’s capital with peripheral cities in the west. The aim is to integrate the municipalities of Cundinamarca’s savanna, improving connectivity, reducing travel times, expanding the urban network, and facilitating entry and exit from the metropolis. This project is significant for enhancing public transport in Colombia.
Additionally, the construction of the Metro de la 80 in Medellin is under discussion and currently in progress.
President Petro is scheduled to return to the country on Friday, October 27, to participate in the regional elections that will take place just two days after his return.