China and Colombia: building the peace?
On 24 November 2016, the government of Colombia signed a peace accord with the guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), opening a new chapter after nearly 60 years of civil conflict.
The Colombian government has hailed the post-peace deal era as one of multiple opportunities for foreign traders and investors to stimulate economic activity in war-ravaged and previously inaccessible parts of the country.
As China begins to engage with resource-rich Colombia, will its investments help or undermine sustainable development?
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Elsewhere in Latin America, China has emerged as a major new trade partner, source of loans and contractor for infrastructure projects. The region’s resources – soya, copper, iron ore and oil – helped to fuel China’s rapid growth and to meet its food and energy security needs.
But the social and environmental risks endemic to resource extraction and, more recently, infrastructure building, have generated strong opposition from affected communities when projects have not been responsibly managed.
On the eve of the first anniversary of the signing of the historic peace deal, violence still ravages many parts of rural Colombia. The end of the western hemisphere’s longest-running war has opened the door to new conflicts over land ownership and natural resources.
On the eve of the first anniversary of signing of the peace deal with FARC, Diálogo Chino presents a special series of articles exploring China’s challenges in the promotion of peaceful and sustainable development in Colombia.
From biodiversity preservation on the Caribbean coast to community opposition to oil exploration in the Amazon, the articles in this series offer a timely snapshot of the critical China-Colombia relationship.