BEIJING (Reuters) - China and Brazil should see each other as an opportunity for development and as partners, Chinese President Xi Jinping told visiting Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao on Friday.
In comparison with President Jair Bolsonaro, who often criticised China's role in Brazil's economy during his presidential campaign, Mourao has taken a more pragmatic approach towards his country's top trading partner, seeking to maintain commercial ties.
In the run-up to last year's election, Bolsonaro had portrayed China as a predator looking to dominate key sectors of Brazil's economy.
Meeting Mourao in the Great Hall of the People, Xi said relations were at a "crucial moment", according to Chinese state television.
"The two sides must continue to firmly regard each other as opportunities and partners for their own development, respect each other, trust each other, support each other, and build China-Brazil relations as a model for solidarity and cooperation among developing countries," the report cited Xi as saying.
There were "broad prospects" for cooperation between the two, Xi said.
China has been making a concerted diplomatic push in Latin America, long regarded by the United States as its backyard, much to its concern.
Brazil is the host of this year's summit of the BRICS group of countries, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which Xi is likely to attend.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)