Latest US stance against China angers Russia

Sergey Lavrov pic from Al Jazeera

HARARE – The United States does not have  authority to criticize the relationship that China has with African  countries and statements attributed to top Washington diplomat, Rex  Tillerson, advising against receiving Chinese loans are misplaced,  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

Tillerson, who is on a five nation African tour, was quoted criticizing  the way Beijing structured loans to African countries.

He also said Chinese investments did not lead into significant job  creation in Africa.

“We are not in any way attempting to keep Chinese dollars from Africa.

 But it is important that African countries carefully consider the terms  of those agreements and not forfeit their sovereignty,” Tillerson told a  news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday.

But, Lavrov, who was in Zimbabwe, said the statement by Tillerson was  inappropriate.

“I did not know that Rex Tillerson was a specialist in China-African  ties. But I do not think it is entirely appropriate if he indeed said  that,” said Lavrov.

“I do not think it was appropriate to criticize the relations of his  hosts, since he was a guest.”

Lavrov added; “We never meddle within the domestic affairs of any other  country, even though we hear allegations to the contrary on a daily  basis from Washington and other Western countries.”

Although the US is the leading provider of humanitarian aid to Africa,  China surpassed it to become Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009.

Beijing has also pumped billions into massive infrastructure projects  throughout the African continent.

At the sixth Forum on China-Africa Co-operation held in South Africa in  2015, China promised $60 billion in loans and grants to Africa spread  over three years.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant General  Sibusiso Moyo (Rtd) weighed in saying the remarks by the US were  misplaced.

“Africa has its own self determination in terms of charting its own  course, in terms of economic co-operation with any member of nations in  the international arena,” he said.

China has stepped up its economic co-operation with Harare and is  funding investment projects running into billions of dollars spread  across different sectors of the Zimbabwean economy.

The deals include financing for the expansion of Hwange Power Station,  construction of a new Parliament building and a pharmaceutical  warehouse, expansion of a national fiber optic broadband project and  provision of wildlife monitoring equipment.

Zimbabwe and China have also agreed to cooperate in the aviation sector  as well as in promoting investment. – New Ziana


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