Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Taking Chinese money imperils your sovereignty, Tillerson tells African leaders

Taking Chinese money imperils your sovereignty, Tillerson tells African leaders

It falls to his top diplomat, on his first official visit to the continent, to show the United States still cares.

North Korea has more than a dozen embassies on the continent.

He said African countries and their people are best qualified to say whether China-Africa cooperation is good or not.

On trade, Tillerson said US supported AU's economic regional integration efforts to lower intra-trade barriers on the continent and boost more intra-regional trade.

This he contrasted with the Chinese Communist Party, which, he said, "encourages dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty, denying them their long-term, self-sustaining growth".

He applauded the Africa Centres for Disease Control, saying it has been quite successful in tracking and responding to disease outbreaks on the continent adding, health security also advanced national security, economic development, and political stability. China is the continent's largest trading partner and has invested in infrastructure across the continent.

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The letter came after Faki himself described the comments to the African Union as "profoundly" shocking and "conveying contempt, hate and desire to marginalize and exclude Africans".

In January, the president reportedly called African nations and Haiti "s--hole countries" in an immigration meeting with senators, asking why the US couldn't attract more people from countries like Norway instead.

Tillerson embarked on a five-nation tour beginning in Ethiopia with a visit to the African Union. He said USA welcomed Chinese participation, but hoped they would follow worldwide rules, global norms, and respect the sovereignty of countries. But Yamamoto also praised China for building infrastructure in Africa, which the United States generally wasn't, focusing rather on providing education and skills.

At Tillerson's two news conferences on Friday, in Djibouti and Nairobi, the typical arrangement for news conferences involving the secretary and his counterpart in the host country were changed, American reporters traveling with Tillerson said.

Trump hasnt announced a signature initiative to aid Africans, such as the PEPFAR program for HIV/AIDS that President George W. Bush started, and many of Trumps budget cuts affect overseas programs that disproportionately help Africa.

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