China firmly opposes external interference in the internal affairs of African countries, and opposes stirring up confrontation and conflict in Africa, the country’s top diplomat said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang made the remarks at the commemoration of Africa Day, which also marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity.
It was celebrated under the slogan: “Our Africa Our Future” to raise awareness around the Pan African ideals of the OAU Founding Members as well as educate the population on the history of Africa.
According to an AU media advisory, the event was also intended to shape the narrative and journey of the continent towards achieving its socioeconomic and political development.
“China firmly opposes external interference in the internal affairs of African countries, and opposes stirring up confrontation and conflict in Africa,” Gang said.
Foreign Minister Gang said Beijing has been a supporter of African Union and Africa’s sub-regional organizations in resolving regional conflicts, and supports the African people in solving African issues in the African way.
“China is a longstanding supporter of the leading role of the AU in resolving regional conflicts, and supports the African people in solving African issues in the African way,” Gang said.
He added that his country has “always supported Africa in playing a bigger role on the world stage, spoken up for Africa at the United Nations and on other multilateral occasions, and is the first country to explicitly support the AU in joining the G20.”
China is also Africa’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years – having constructed and commissioned railways, highway, and infrastructures like airports, docks, bridges and power plants.
But Western nations have accused Beijing of “debt trap” diplomacy against African nations.
However, on the occasion of the Africa Day, diplomat Gang dismissed the allegations.
“The global economy is going through a treacherous recovery while the development gap is widening. To keep its hegemonic position, a certain country is stoking division and confrontation, and fabricated lies and false narratives of the so-called “debt trap”, “neocolonialism” and “democracy vs. autocracy” to smear and obstruct China-Africa cooperation.”
On the issue of China’s breakaway Taiwan island and dissenting Hong Kong, Gang said his country appreciates Africa’s support to one China principle and wishes to replicate the favor by respecting the sovereignty of African nations.
“We appreciate Africa’s commitment to its just position and to the one China principle. We are prepared to further strengthen mutual support with Africa on issues concerning each other’s sovereignty, development and dignity.”
On the same event, African Union leaders warned that the continent must not become a ‘geostrategic battleground’ for global powers, as the continent grapples with several threats to its peace and security.
“In this international context of confrontation of divergent political interests, the will of each side threatens to transform Africa into a geostrategic battleground, thereby creating a new Cold War,” AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said, according to French news agency AFP.
The continent has become the stage for a battle for influence among the major powers, which has redoubled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 15 months ago.
Moscow is seeking deeper political, economic and military ties in Africa as well as Asia as Russia becomes increasingly isolated on the international stage over the conflict in Ukraine.
“In this zero-sum game, where the gains of others would translate into losses for Africa, we must resist all forms of instrumentalisation of our member states,” Faki added in an address at AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
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