Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is delaying a planned trip to China because of a health issue, his office said Saturday. File Photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI | License Photo
March 25 (UPI) -- Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is delaying a planned trip to China because of health issues, including a diagnosis of pneumonia, his office confirmed Saturday.
The 77-year-old is dealing with a bout of influenza and was diagnosed Thursday with a mild case of pneumonia, his office confirmed.
He was admitted to a hospital in Brasilia, where he remains after undergoing a bevy of tests. The official diagnosis was viral bronchopneumonia due to influenza.
Doctors recommended a "postponement of the trip to China until the viral transmission cycle is closed."
Lula da Silva was expected to travel to China with a large delegation for the five-day trip, scheduled to wrap up next Friday.
The trade mission to Beijing was at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping and other high-level politicians to discuss trade between the two countries.
Energy and climate change were also expected to be on the agenda, with up to 20 bilateral deals possibly being ratified.
The Brazilian presidential office confirmed the trip was to "promote the relaunch of relations with what has been the country's main trading partner since 2009."
China has been Brazil's largest trading partner in recent years, importing nearly $90 billion worth of Brazilian products in 2022.
Brazil is a major beef exporter but has been banned from sending its meat to the United States since last June, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended shipments over safety concerns. The department said it made the decision based on allegations some of the country's largest meat processors were selling rotten and salmonella-tainted meat.
Several other countries implemented similar bans on Brazilian beef.
Lula da Silva's trip to China was meant to coincide with that country's lifting of the import ban on Brazilian meat.