China watches nervously as Trump, conservatives hail Milei’s win

China reacted warily Monday whereas former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans celebrated the information that firebrand libertarian conservative Javier Milei had scored a decisive victory over an institution candidate in Argentina‘s presidential runoff Sunday.

According to Argentina‘s electoral authority, Mr. Milei won 55.7% of the 99.7% votes cast to Economic Minister Sergio Massa’s 44.3%. It is the widest margin of victory in a presidential race because the nation returned to democracy in 1983.

The sharply divergent reactions underscore the uncertainty and disruption the outsider Mr. Milei is prone to convey to Buenos Aires. The nation faces surging inflation, financial stagnation and rising social issues.

“Congratulations to Javier Milei on a great race for president of Argentina. The whole world was watching!” Mr. Trump posted on his Truth Social platform Sunday night time. “… You will turn your country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again!”

Mr. Milei‘s raucous celebration Sunday night in downtown Buenos Aires included supporters waving both Argentine flags and the yellow Gadsden flags emblazoned with the words “Don’t Tread On Me,” which Mr. Milei‘s movement adopted.

Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, called Mr. Milei‘s win and his agenda an “existential threat” to progressives everywhere. “If Argentina can elect a government with a mandate to restrain and downsize government, so can we,” he said.

Mr. Milei drew comparisons to Mr. Trump on the stump, bringing a chainsaw to rallies and promising to slash the size of the government, ditch the peso in favor of the U.S. dollar and ease restrictions on guns. He criticized sex education in schools, feminist ideology and abortion.

The former lawmaker and television personality also pushed fiercely anti-communist rhetoric during the campaign, promising at one point that if elected he would freeze relations with China, which is now the top trading partner of South America’s second-largest financial system, China has supplied billions in Belt and Road growth loans to Argentina, lower main offers to promote weapons to the nation and opened a secretive, Chinese military-run deep house station there.

Beijing responded cautiously on Monday to Mr. Milei‘s victory, congratulating the winner and saying it plans to maintain close bilateral relations.

China “stands ready to work with Argentina to continue nurturing our friendship, contribut[ing] to each other’s growth and prosperity by means of win-win cooperation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning advised reporters in Beijing.

Global Times, a media outlet of China‘s ruling Communist Party, had a extra sobering take, citing consultants who mentioned Mr. Milei‘s victory “will pose some challenges for the country’s ties with China as bilateral relations may enter a trial period until both sides find more common interests.”

The Biden administration additionally took a measured view of the momentous shift in Argentina. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an announcement Monday hailed the “robust democratic process” within the marketing campaign.

“We look forward to working with President-elect Milei and his government on shared priorities that benefit the people of both countries, including protecting human rights and democracy, addressing climate change, and investing in the middle class,” Mr. Blinken mentioned in an announcement.

Mr. Milei‘s victory comes amid mounting concern in U.S. national security circles over China‘s growing investments in critical infrastructure in several Latin American nations, including Argentina.

U.S. Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson, who heads the Pentagon’s Southern Command advised the House Armed Services Committee in May that Beijing has constructed the potential to “advance its brand of authoritarianism, and amass power and influence at the expense of the existing and emerging democracies in our hemisphere.”

More lately, Gen. Richardson highlighted China‘s funding in “space infrastructure” in Argentina, which is presently enjoying host to at least one the three “deep space stations” managed by Beijing.

When requested concerning the concern final month, Diana Mondino, a prime adviser to Mr. Milei, additionally expressed concern concerning the facility.

“If it is really a space station, why keep it secret?” Ms. Mondino mentioned at an occasion hosted by the Wilson Center. At the identical time, she instructed a Milei authorities would honor current agreements with China.

Many American conservatives Monday mentioned Mr. Milei‘s victory was a transparent vindication of their rules and insurance policies.

Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, the Florida Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere subcommittee, referred to as the vote an important victory for freedom over Peronism, the long-dominant authoritarian political motion in Argentina.

“I will ensure that the Biden administration treats Mr. Milei with the respect he deserves,” she mentioned in an announcement. “Long live freedom!”

Rep. Mike Collins, Georgia Republican, additionally welcomed Mr. Milei‘s decisive win.

“Hopefully, this will be the first of many wins for freedom and democracy against socialism in Latin America,” Mr. Collins mentioned.