China FM on Africa visits sidesteps asking for a UN council seat

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NAIROBI, Kenya – China’s new foreign minister, Qin Gang, has accepted a new call from the African Union for permanent representation on the UN Security Council during his visit to Ethiopia.

Speaking at the opening of the Chinese-built headquarters of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Qin instead emphasized China’s partnership with Africa in security and development. economic.

In a statement dated early Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry quoted Qin as saying that Beijing supports “a greater representation and voice of the African Union at the UN Security Council and other international bodies.” ,” but did not directly refer to permanent representation.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said at a press conference that the lack of permanent African representation on the Security Council is a “burning issue”, as most of the issues on the council’s agenda are -related to African countries.

“It is impossible for other people to decide for others. It is not fair. We need a new order at the international level that respects the interests of others,” he said.

China is one of the five permanent members of the council.

Qin, who was appointed in December, is on his first trip abroad as foreign minister and is embarking on a week-long trip to Africa. He will also visit Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt.

Chinese foreign ministers for more than three decades have started their terms by visiting Africa, whose population as a continent rivals China’s. China has invested heavily in infrastructure in African countries, including roads, railways and hospitals.

Qin rejected the idea that China is competing in Africa with the United States, which last month wanted to reassert its influence with a summit between the US and Africa in Washington.

“What Africa needs is solidarity and cooperation, not restraint of competition. No one has the right to force African countries to take sides,” Qin said.

The chairman of the AU Commission said, “Africa refuses to be considered a sphere of influence exchange. … We are open to cooperation and partnership with everyone, but our principles, priorities and interests must be respected. Our partnership with China is based on these principles. “

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