Brazil has turned a page on years of crisis, the country’s new leader Michel Temer said Friday as he made his international presidential debut in China only a day after being sworn in to replace Dilma Rousseff following a bitter impeachment fight.
“Even though we suffered from political and economic upheaval, as well as economic downturn, this page has been turned,” Temer said in a speech Friday in the Chinese commercial hub Shanghai.
“Brazil has put all the economic and political instability it suffered in the past few years behind us.”
Temer, 75, came to China for the G20 summit which starts in nearby Hangzhou on Sunday, and is seeking to consolidate his position after senators in Brasilia voted Wednesday to convict Rousseff on charges of having illegally manipulated government accounts.
His Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping called him an “old friend” when they met on the shores of the city’s landmark West Lake, adding: “China and Brazil make up together the East and West’s two biggest developing countries.”
Temer said it was an “honour” that his first presidential trip was to China, adding: “I am even more honoured to hear you say that we are friends.”
Earlier, with Shanghai mayor Yang Xiong, Temer witnessed the signing of nine agreements covering projects from infrastructure to agriculture and said that China was now “Brazil’s most-needed cooperative partner.”
Brazilians “need China’s support, we need China’s cooperation,” he added.
The new leader faces multiple difficulties at home, with Rousseff filing a Supreme Court challenge against her conviction for taking illegal state loans.
His bid to shore up his authority will face strong opposition from her Workers’ Party and allied leftist organisations.
And his vows to create jobs through market-friendly reforms while tackling the country’s fiscal deficit through spending and pension cuts are likely to provoke strong opposition both on the streets and in Congress.
Sworn in to serve out the remainder of Rousseff’s four-year presidential term up to the end of 2018, Temer assured Chinese entrepreneurs that those who have signed deals in Brazil will be “well protected” by its laws.
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