Argentina's Kirchner out of wheelchair for China trip

BUENOS AIRES - Argentine President Cristina Kirchner said Saturday she may be back on two feet for her upcoming visit to China, after being wheelchair-bound for several weeks with an ankle fracture.

Kirchner is due to visit the Asian powerhouse from Tuesday to Thursday at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, who visited Argentina last year.

The 61-year-old Argentine leader has been recovering since breaking her ankle the day after Christmas.

She said on Twitter she was finally walking short distances with her cast-bound ankle and that her doctor said she could be out of her wheelchair by Tuesday.

But her doctor "recommended that if the routes are very long, I will use the chair. We will see," she posted.

"Either way, chair or no chair, cast or no cast, China awaits us. And the agenda is more important," she added.

The ankle fracture is the latest in a spate of health setbacks that have forced her to miss several trips, including to a G20 meeting in Australia and a visit to the Vatican.

Kirchner's China trip seeks to bolster ties between Buenos Aires and Beijing, which is expanding its business presence in Latin America at breakneck speed.

China has a total of US$23 billion (S$31.1 billion) invested in Argentina, mostly in energy, mining, the financial sector and farm exports.