BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday departed for a visit to four South American countries, including Brazil, to build ties in a resource-rich region traditionally considered the backyard of the United States. Xi left Beijing on Sunday morning, the official Xinhua news agency reported, with a delegation which includes State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China’s leading official for foreign affairs. On the trip, he will pay formal state visits to Brazil, oil-supplier Venezuela, long-time political ally Cuba and Argentina—a key source of soybeans for China. The visit—Xi’s second to Latin America since taking office as head of state last year— comes as China’s trade with the region has surged along with the Asian giant’s economic boom, and as Beijing remains on the lookout for resources to power its growth. China’s massive purchases of commodities and exports of manufactured goods to the region have boosted its two-way trade with Latin America to a total of $261.6 billion last year, according to China’s customs.