China said on Tuesday it would be a "serious mistake" if Argentina were to cut ties, after the weekend presidential election victory in the South American country of a right-wing libertarian who has said he will not deal with communists.
Argentinian president-elect Javier Milei has criticized China as well as Brazil, which are among his country's most important trading partners. A few months ago, Milei likened the Chinese government to an "assassin" and said the people of China were "not free".
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular news briefing that the development of bilateral relations with Argentina had been showing good momentum, and it would be a "serious mistake" for Argentina to cut ties with countries such as China and Brazil.
Diana Mondino, an economist tipped to become foreign minister in the Milei administration, said Argentina would not join the BRICS grouping, that includes China and Russia, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency cited her as saying.
Argentina was among six countries invited to become new members of the BRICS, a bloc whose members also include Brazil, India and South Africa.
Mondino told RIA Novosti that Argentina would "stop interacting" with the governments of China and Brazil, when asked whether Argentina would encourage exports and imports with those countries.
Mao, asked by reporters about Mondino's remarks, said: "The two sides have strong economic complementarity and huge potential for cooperation."
"China is willing to continue to work together with Argentina to promote the stability and long-term development of bilateral relations."
Milei's tough talk on China stands in sharp contrast with a vow of cooperation by the outgoing president, Alberto Fernandez, who visited Beijing last month and hailed China as a "true friend" of Argentina.
Fernandez also pledged coordination with China under frameworks like the G20 and BRICS.
Milei has also said climate change is a "lie of socialism" and Pope Francis is on the side of "bloody dictatorships".