By Laura Gamba
BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Wednesday with Chilean President Gabriel Boric to discuss the migration crisis, human rights, climate change and the need to expand trade and investment between the countries.
It is Blinken's first visit to Chile, a country that the US considers a long-standing ally in South America.
Boric received Blinken at the La Moneda Palace for the meeting.
“Good meeting today with President Gabriel Boric. As we approach the 200th anniversary of US-Chile relations in 2023, we look forward to working closely to strengthen human rights, democracy, environmental protection, and renewable energy in the Americas,” Blinken wrote on Twitter.
China is Chile's main trading partner, followed by the US.
Afterward, Boric said he celebrated “good conversation to strengthen democratic institutions, sustainable development and trade, as well as the increase in ambition to address the climate crisis."
Boric, the youngest person to rule Chile at age 36, has been critical of the role the US plays in the region. He has said that Washington should look at Latin America as an “equal” partner and "never as a subordinate" to be able to work together.
He has said he regretted a decision by the US to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela from the IX Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in June although Boric has spoken against human rights violations in those countries and has repeatedly demanded the release of Nicaraguan political prisoners.
Blinken is visiting Chile as part of a tour of Latin America to build closer relations with the region.
The Secretary of State met Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Monday to discuss the fight against drugs, migration and the climate crisis.
After Chile, he will travel to Peru for the annual General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), where he will hold talks on regional issues.