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Chinese Ambassador: American Smearing China in Africa Is Obviously Choosing the Wrong Place and Wrong Topic Against A Wrong Target

By Lin Songtian (People's Daily Online)    17:41, March 15, 2018

Lin Songtian, Chinese ambassador to South Africa (photo by Wang Lei)

After taking office for over a year, H.E. Mr. Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State has finally put his mind on Africa and fortunately paid his maiden trip to Africa recently. But unfortunately and regrettably, His Excellency came to Africa not with an aim to help African countries and people to realize durable peace and self-sustainable development. Instead, His Excellency came here to warn and teach African countries to be alert of China’s growing influence through investment and assistance to Africa, smearing China’s investment and trade cooperation with African countries.

We are happy to see that the African governments and people, including the AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki, Kenyan Foreign Minister Juma, and Djiboutian Foreign Minister Youssouf have all stepped up to tell the respected US Secretary of State that, today, Africans are mature enough to engage in partnerships of their own volition, and that Africans are wise enough to know who is their true and reliable development partner.

Having worked for a long time on China-Africa relations, and having visited over 30 African countries, I understand fully China’s foreign policy and practices on developing relations with Africa. China has become more and more popular in Africa not by giving out lectures, teaching people what to do and what not to do, but by taking a series of concrete actions to sincerely and earnestly help Africa realize durable peace and self-sustainable development. Therefore, the American smearing China in Africa have obviously chosen the wrong place, wrong topic against a wrong target. That is why the Africans have stepped up to tell His Excellency what he is talking about China is wrong and not true. Sorry to say that it is quite self-embarrassing.

The Americans have been expressing worry over China’s growing influence in Africa with their own ulterior motive.

It is true that China’s influence in Africa is growing everyday. It is our strong belief that if you do good to friends and other people, you will get better from them.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed us that, in conducting China's relations with Africa, we should adhere to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests. The essence of this instruction is to closely combine China's development and Africa's realization of self-sustainable development, so as to achieve win-win cooperation for common development. As a result, apart from continued deepening friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) mechanism, China has also committed itself to connecting Africa to the Belt and Road initiative to promote policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond.

I’m very proud of China’s cooperation with Africa. Through our joint efforts, China has for 9 consecutive years remained Africa’s largest trading partner, one of the most important investor, and source of tourists. Over 6,500 km of railways, over 6,000 km of highway, 200 plus schools, over 80 sports stadiums, and tens of government office buildings, parliamentary buildings and AU Building, and many airports and seaports in Africa have been loaned and built by China. And because of China’s contribution, the modernization of telecommunication has benefited the people on the continent.

It is probable that the airports where H.E. Mr. Secretary Tillerson landed, the highway passed by, and the venues such as the AU headquarters, parliamentary building or a stadium, where he delivered public speech, are loaned and built by China, and built by the hands of the Chinese and the African people. We are very happy that the African people never take things for granted. They of course highly appreciate what the Chinese government and people have done on this continent.

Journalists visit a blanket factory (photo by Wang Lei)

Is China’s influence in Africa good or bad? Only the African people can have the right to answer. The African people know too well that if they are not independent economically, they will never be independent politically. Only by realizing self-sustainable development can Africa truly get rid of external interference and say NO loudly to those finger-pointing people.

Some people on the one hand express their worry about China’s influence in Africa. On the other hand, they do not want to contribute enough capital to help Africa build infrastructure, still less to encourage its businesses to invest in Africa. In essence, what they really want is to keep Africa as it was, poor and divided, to be always controlled by others. What they worry about is Africa's realization of economic independence with China’s support. What they worry about is a strong Africa that can no longer be ordered around politically.

The Americans are making an excuse for themselves by accusing China of creating a debt crisis in Africa.

It’s our strong belief that with its rich natural and human resources, Africa boasts huge development potential. Africa is a promising continent and is a new driving force to promote future world economic development.

It is known to all that, to realize self-sustainable development, African countries are facing three bottleneck issues, namely inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and shortage of financial resources. To break those bottlenecks, Africa needs huge investment and financial support from the international community. Whoever can and will help Africa break those bottlenecks is Africa’s true and reliable partner.


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