China has urged the United Nations and regional organisations to do more to help African nations reduce conflict across the continent.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi also called for financial assistance for the continent and said China would continue to support the African Union’s efforts to integrate the continent.
“The United Nations should help Africa improve its independent capabilities for peacekeeping, maintaining stability and fighting terrorism, and help speed up the construction of an African standing army, a quick response force and early warning mechanism, while providing sustainable financial assistance for the African Union’s peace and security operations,” Wang told a UN Security Council debate on Monday.
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Wang mentioned that China had pledged to donate 300,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to UN peacekeepers with priority given to the African mission area.
“In face of mounting challenges in the field of international peace and security, the United Nations should work jointly with regional organisations towards safeguarding multilateralism and contributing to world peace and development,” he said.
China signed a cooperation agreement with African Union late last year to promote theBelt and Road Initiative, China’s vast global infrastructure building project. Besides, at least 44 African countries have signed belt and road cooperation documents with China, accounting for one-third of the total signatories.
As Africa’s largest trading partner and one of the main sources of investment, China’s influence in Africa has been rapidly growing. More than 10,000 Chinese-owned companies are currently operating across the continent, according to McKinsey.
The continent is also a major investment destination for China. Beijing announced a US$1 billion Africa infrastructure development fund in 2019 and a US$60 billion African aid package in 2018.
Africa has also surpassed Asia to become the largest market for China’s overseas construction contracts, according to Zhejiang Province’s chamber of commerce.
Beijing’s growing influence in the continent has caused increasing concern in the United States, where some politicians have called for an American equivalent of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The US and other Western countries have also warned of Chinese “debt-trap diplomacy”, arguing that African countries may lose key assets if they take out loans they cannot repay.
Wang also said that China had established strategic partnerships with regional organisations, including the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Arab League, with the aims of achieving win-win cooperation and had no intention of targeting any third party.
Wang also said: “We have always supported the UN with active efforts in strengthening cooperation with regional and subregional organisations”.
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