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Chinese Diplomacy in Africa Not Limited to Horn of Africa Peace Conference

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EIRNS—Today was the first day of the June 20-21 “China-Horn of Africa First Peace, Governance and Development Conference,” which commenced in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, also the home to the African Union and African Development Bank. With very little publicity (possibly for security reasons), China’s diplomatic offensive is being watched closely by both close and distant observers.

“The conference will mainly focus on the themes of peace, development, and good governance,” writes the Addis Standard. “The event is being conducted with the underpinnings of China’s interests in working with the Horn of Africa (HoA) states to ensure that sustainable peace and development are consolidated. High-level participants arrived last night, including Xue Bing, the Chinese Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, and other high-ranking dignitaries of the HoA region.”

China’s recent African diplomacy has not been limited to the Peace Conference, however. For the last week, Wu Peng, Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, conducted a seven-country cross-continent tour from June 8-13. Stopping first in South Africa, Wu addressed a meeting with “South African international relations scholars,” at the embassy in Pretoria under the theme “New Era China and Africa Cooperation.” Africa and China “need to oppose the ‘I win, you lose’ Cold War mentality [of] exclusive small blocs, and rather seek to promote the vision of common, comprehensive, co-operative and sustainable security as envisaged by the United Nations Charter,” Wu said. His visit got favorable reviews from both the SABC and Independent news agencies.

From South Africa Wu then went to Zambia, Africa’s sole “pandemic bankruptcy,” where his visit was (coincidentally or not) met with a delegation from the IMF. So while some sought to shift the discussion to “debt traps” within the bankrupt country, Wu instead took the high ground and urged the morally bankrupt IMF to expedite their aid package to the suffering nation.

Other countries visited by Peng include Tanzania, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Togo. [mpb]