Beijing, China – A top diplomat of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) says his country will not interfere with the democratic tenants of any African nation or meddle in its internal political activities including the election of its leaders.
“China sincerely supports the development of Africa, and will not interfere in African domestic Affairs. We will not impose our will to others and have no political terms in (to) our assistance.” - Mr. Dai Bing, Deputy Director General for African Affairs, China’s Ministry of Foreign.
Mr. Dai Bing, Deputy Director General for African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told journalist in Beijing that China and Africa friendship has “come a far long way and there will be no political string attached” to giving aid to countries on the continent.
Since the holding of the China-Africa forum in December 2015, trade, investments and bilateral cooperation between China and Africa have made significant inroads as the Asian nation – now the world’s second largest economy – continue to show interest in accelerating the cooperation.
Trade and investment is booming between the continent and China. From a US$10.9 billion bilateral trade in 2000, the amount galloped in 2014 to over US$220 billion in 2014.
Regardless the economic and trade success, politics is a key factor to sustaining these relations. China has called for stability in policies like tax incentives for investors, security and skilled manpower in African countries – and experts say only political stability can achieve the aforementioned.
Critics assert that China is embarking on neo-colonialism of Africa, while others claim the PRC often turns a blind-eye on dictators on the continent – mainly looking for economic gains.
In response, the Chinese insists they have increase the ‘bargaining chip’ for African countries to negotiate any trade deal with Western nations, will continue to show mutual respect for the continent and will not yield to pressure from the West over its cooperation with the West.
Mr. Dai said China is not looking to replicate its one party style of governance in Africa, adding that the bilateral relationship with African countries is “non-interference with the country’s politics”.
“China sincerely supports the development of Africa, and will not interfere in African domestic Affairs. We will not impose our will to others and have no political terms in (to) our assistance,” Dai said.
The comment comes from Beijing as West African countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia prepare for general and presidential elections this year.
Since re-establishing diplomatic ties with PRC under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia has benefited millions from China in aid including peace keeping forces and health care support, significant amongst them: support during the Ebola outbreak.
Bilateral relations in recent years between the Asian economic superpower and the West African nation have also seen projects worth millions too.
The latest being the agreement to modernize the country’s main international airport and the construction of a US$50 million ministerial complex in Monrovia.
Concerns about China’s support for a definite candidate in Liberia’s upcoming elections have linger especially as Sirleaf’s Vice President Joseph Boakai has tossed his hat in the race for the presidency, but China reechoing its stance allays fears over the election’s result consequently derailing the existing friendship.
The Chinese diplomat assured that they will not impose their philosophy of politics and governance on their ‘African brothers’, which he said they jointly fought for against Nazism during the World War II.
Mr. Dei said China and Africa, over the past decades, have gone through ups and downs in their respective political reforms though many African countries settle for multiparty democracy while China sticks to unique form of communism.
New Concepts and Measures in China’s policy to Africa
Meanwhile, Dai said the foundation of China’s independent and peaceful foreign policy is a long-term strategy that is gear towards strengthening ties and cooperation with African countries.
The PRC’s President Xi Jinping’s concept of true, practical, honest and intimacy carved during his first visits to Tanzania, South Africa, and The Republic of Congo back in 2013 called for a new direction for the future of China-African Relations.
Outlining the significance of these concepts, the Deputy Director of African Affairs emphasized that Xi’s concept echoes mutual cooperation and benefits through practical and efficient approaches.
“We will fulfill our promise to make real our measures and strategies to help African countries. ‘Intimacy’ means to connect with each other and peacefully live with each other. We will learn from each other’s civilization and make a solid foundation for China-African friendship.
‘Honest’ means to treat each other with honesty and solve problem properly. We will try our best to create a friendly environment of China- African Relations,” said Mr. Dai.
Also recalling the December 2015, China African Cooperation Forum held in South Africa, he said that meeting has yield huge success so far.
The summit, held in Johannesburg deliberated cooperation in key areas including industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, finance, green development, trade and investment convenience, reduction of poverty, public health, humanity, peace and security.
Implementations Based on Priorities
China insists achieving the ten plans must come with African countries prioritizing important goals based on the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which identifies a true African friend as whoever that could help the continent get over the development platform period and solve “people’s everyday life problem.”
“China is willing to help African countries to achieve economic independence and becomes Africa real friend,” Dai reassured, but said priorities given by African countries will have to fit within China’s capacity to help and the two must be guided by economic and social interest.
He added that China and Africa cooperation has an unprecedented era of opportunities.
He named three key changes in China-Africa cooperation but stressed that investment and financing cooperation are the main catalysts becoming the major growth point in China-Africa cooperation.