By the end of March, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was supposed to travel to China to meet with President Xi Jinping. Lula would have traveled to Beijing four times in less than a year since becoming office.

After contracting pneumonia, Lula was forced to postpone his trip, which was scheduled to involve 200 businesspeople. It is now anticipated to take place in April or May. The travel to China was intended to ease domestic political pressure, according to his administration.

Lula has previously traveled to Argentina and Uruguay, allies in the Mercosur South American economic bloc, since assuming the presidency (his previous tenure ran from 2003 to 2010), and he recently took a flight to Washington, DC, for talks with Democratic Party members and US President Joe Biden over.

Traveling the world at 77 and serving his third term as president of a country that is bitterly divided seems like quite the effort. Yet, Lula performs it cheerfully. The former metalworker has excelled at the challenge of international diplomacy when he first assumed government 20 years ago as a natural negotiator with political charm. Foreign policy will be a tool for Lula to increase his domestic political credibility as he begins his third term. He currently seems to have a better reputation abroad than at home.

Lula’s administration led the creation of Unasur, a South American organization created to counterbalance US economic and political power in the region. Lula was a persistent player on the global arena. He also established a number of partnerships in the developing countries.