China says African countries don't think cooperation
adds to debt
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[September 06, 2018]
BEIJING (Reuters) - African
leaders attending this week's summit with China don't think that
cooperation between the continent and Beijing has added to their debt
burden, the Chinese government's top diplomat said on Thursday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion to African nations at
Monday's opening of a China-Africa forum on cooperation, matching the
size of funds offered at the last summit in Johannesburg in 2015.
China has denied engaging in "debt trap" diplomacy, and Xi said this
week government debt from Chinese interest-free loans due by year-end
would be written off for the poorest African nations.
In a statement posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website, in the
form of a question and answer, State Councillor Wang Yi said Xi's speech
had met with a rapturous reception from the African leaders at the
"Some African leaders stated outright, certain Western countries only
speak but don't act, but China takes actual actions," Wang, who is also
China's foreign minister, said.
"They said, China upholds putting righteousness first and is consistent
in its sincere and selfless support for Africa's development, in stark
contrast to the inequality of relations between some major powers and
Africa, and that those who believe Africa-China cooperation aggravates
Africa's debt burden are completely wrong," he added."There is no market
for sowing discord between Africa and China!" Wang said, citing the
unidentified African leaders.
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas
Motsoahae Thabane listen to their national anthems during a
welcoming ceremony inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing,
China September 6, 2018. Lintao Zhang/Pool via REUTERS
China has defended the latest promise of financing for Africa, saying China is
helping the continent develop, not pile up debt.
A wave of African nations seeking to restructure their debt with China has
served as a reality check for Beijing's ties with the continent, though most of
its countries still see Chinese lending as the best bet to develop their
Every African country attended the summit, with most sending their presidents,
apart from eSwatini, self-ruled Taiwan's last African ally that has so far
rejected China's overtures to ditch Taipei and recognize Beijing.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie
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