Foreign Ministry to Prioritize Indo-Pacific, Post-Covid Economy

In a webinar organized by Universidad Católica, Chile’s foreign minister has talked about the priorities Teatinos 180 should focus on. He highlighted that global power relations were shifting and Chile must find a place in this emerging order. Allamand also referred to the important role the ministry plays in spurring the post-pandemic economy.

The international studies center of Universidad Católica hosted a webinar centered on “The new Phase of Foreign Policy.” Foreign Minister Andrés Allamand was the high-level speaker on Sept. 14 and presented the ministry’s priorities. Allamand, of President Sebastián Piñera’s National Renewal party, succeeded Teodoro Ribera recently as part of a cabinet reshuffle to calm internal party tensions.

According to a foreign ministry press release, Allamand wants to push more forcefully toward a state foreign policy which aligns with global changes. Important drivers of such changes are doubts about globalization, rising protectionism, climate change, a new geopolitical architecture, among others.

Three Pillars that Carry Chile

Allamand said Chile’s international image should rest on three pillars. “Chile is a history of progress…, it is a country with strong institutions…, and Chile is a country with international vocation that is always motivated to support the international community.” The minister did not specify the support and who represents the international community.

In the China-US spat he advocated for “an actively neutral policy.” This means Chile “has to step back from the dispute and identify where the national interest is to move with the corresponding independence,” the international studies center cited Allamand as saying on its website.

According to the minister, Chile has all “the foundations to build a foreign policy that represents the entire country and could have a double advantage, one toward the outside in terms of international projection; and I see a positive aspect in domestic policy as a space for convergence.”

Given that the global power center would shift toward the Indo-Pacific region, Allamand said Chile would increasingly focus on India and Indonesia. And Brazil would remain a key partner in the region. Allamand called the countries “the three giants.”

Other Priorities

In Latin America, Chile will strive to foster multilateralism. The country will pursue an “active” and “firm” regional policy that includes a leadership position in environmental policy. In that vein, the minister did not mention Chile’s refusal to sign the Escazú Treaty, a stellar example of regional multilateralism, which would also elevate environmental policy and improve citizen rights and participation.

Health is another focus. Allamand said Teatinos 180 was pushing hard so Chile would gain early access to Covid-19 vaccines. The ministry would also be important to attract foreign investments in a post-pandemic global economy where several countries are competing for scarce funds.

Read more:

Cooperation and Covid-19: The View from Chile and South America

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