China would never buy diplomatic relations with African countries: diplomats

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/1 15:44:22

China has never and would never "buy a diplomatic relationship" with any African country, nor has the country imposed "colonialism" or set up any "debt trap" in the continent, veteran Chinese diplomats noted on Saturday.  

"If China wants to buy a diplomatic relationship with African countries, it could have done so long time ago," Liu Guijin, former Chinese Government's Special Representative for African Affairs, said at a press conference in Beijing.

Liu made the remarks when asked whether Burkina Faso cut "diplomatic ties" with the island of Taiwan due to  "money diplomacy."

In May, China and Burkina Faso announced the resumption of diplomatic ties in a joint communique. The government of Burkina Faso said that it recognizes that there is one China in the world, that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory.

There are two preconditions for establishing diplomatic ties with China: the willingness for ties and respecting the one-China principle, Cheng Tao, former director-general of the Department of African Affairs under China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at the Saturday conference.

The Taiwan authorities' accusation that "the mainland government is using money to buy diplomatic relations" is groundless and with ulterior motives, Cheng said.

"There were African countries which said they want diplomatic relations with China and they would also like financial assistance so that their governments could convince their people that there are actual benefits of diplomatic ties with China," said Cheng.

"However, diplomatic relations are a political decision, not a deal, and China would never engage in such deals," he said.

"If the time is not right for diplomatic ties, China will wait, but it would never buy diplomatic relations with African countries, nor will it pressure any country to have diplomatic relations with China," said Liu.

The Saturday press conference was held ahead of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which is scheduled to be held on Monday and Tuesday.

The diplomats also slammed accusations of the so-called "neocolonialism" in Africa.

"African people know what a real friend is and what colonialism is, as the continent has a 500-year history of being colonized. They don't need other countries to lecture them on this," said Cheng.

China's need for African resources is fundamentally different from Western countries' exploitation of African resources, said Cheng, who is the former ambassador to Mali and Morocco.


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