Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeated the far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Sunday's runoff vote to win his third term to lead the largest country in South America.
While congratulating the former Brazilian president on his election win, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed the strong desire for and confidence in the two countries building on their relationship as "all-round strategic partners" and cooperating more closely on national development as well as global governance.
Chinese public opinion also appears optimistic that the return of the former leader may make possible substantial improvement in bilateral ties, which have generally been friendly but suffered disruption over the past few years. After all, the two terms of Lula's previous presidency witnessed a significant upgrading of relations, and the former president himself had a record as a pragmatic leader who was keenly aware of the importance of international cooperation, and thus a firm believer in multilateralism.
From 2003 to 2010, during Lula's first two terms as president, the Brazilian government proactively developed relations with China resulting in a conspicuous growth in bilateral trade, which surged from $6 billion to $76 billion, increasing more than 12 times in that period. It was also under his watch that China became his country's biggest trading partner in 2009. So he knows what it means to maintain and strengthen such a relationship.
More important, from his commitment to responding to climate change to poverty alleviation to multilateral cooperation, the Brazilian president-elect's policy priorities align with the Chinese policy agenda. This, along with the two countries' highly complementary economies, means boundless possibilities for bilateral cooperation.
According to the World Bank, President-elect Lula shoulders a heavy burden to rebuild Brazil, as structural issues have seriously impeded the country's growth, and the economy remains vulnerable to significant downward pressure from inflation. It says that restoring financial sustainability is the most imperative task facing Brazil. Lula himself identified the fight against hunger and poverty as his government's overriding commitment, and pledged to launch a mammoth poverty relief program to lift 36 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty. China, which has just achieved victory in its campaign to eradicate extreme poverty in the country, is on track to consolidate its accomplishments in poverty alleviation.
Lula's commitment to safeguarding the sustainability of Brazil's natural resources is consistent with that of Beijing's in dealing with climate change and achieving environmental and ecological wellness. His belief in economic globalization, and dedication to promoting multilateralism are also in line with China's stance, which sees itself as a beneficiary of economic globalization and spares no effort to defend it.
Their longstanding friendly cooperation in the past and their profound common interests have laid a solid foundation for China and Brazil to further deepen cooperation.