Hot discussion in foreign media!China will set up a special envoy for the Horn of Africa affairs, non-media: help the final settlement of the conflict
[Global Times Special Correspondent in Egypt Huang Peizhao]State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi was invited to visit Eritrea, Kenya and Comoros from January 4th to 7th. On the 6th local time, Wang Yi and Kenyan Foreign Minister Omamo jointly met with reporters in Mombasa and introduced the “Concept of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa” proposed by China at the request of the reporter. In the face of frequent conflicts in the region, China recommends that countries in the region convene the Horn of Africa Peace Conference to conduct in-depth discussions on this, form a political consensus, and coordinate joint actions. China is willing to appoint a special envoy for the Horn of Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide necessary support for this process. “This shows that China intends to play a more important role in this hotspot.” Reuters said on the 6th. On the same day, the United States appointed a new special envoy for Horn of Africa affairs. The report also quoted Wang Yi’s statement that China’s focus on the African continent will shift from infrastructure construction to trade. “It’s never what China wants to do, but what Africa wants to do”.
On January 6, 2022 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Kenyan Foreign Minister Omamo jointly met with reporters in Mombasa.
The Horn of Africa generally refers to an area in northeastern Africa that protrudes eastward in the shape of rhino horns. The Horn of Africa in the narrow sense includes the areas north of Kenya and Uganda, east of the White Nile, and the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean coast. It mainly includes the entire territory of Somalia, Djibouti and part of the peninsulas of Eritrea and Ethiopia. The total area of the area is about 2 million square kilometers and the population is about 150 million.
Wang Yi said on the 6th that the Horn of Africa has a unique strategic location and huge development potential. However, in recent years, hotspot issues have intensified and conflicts have erupted from time to time. This phenomenon is completely incompatible with the interests of the people of the Horn of Africa and can no longer continue. In order to support the Horn of Africa in achieving long-term stability and peace and prosperity, China is willing to put forward the “Concept of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa” to support countries in the region in responding to the triple challenges of security, development, and governance.
The problems in the Horn of Africa involve all aspects of the epidemic, drought, hunger, locust disasters, internal conflicts, border disputes, interference by major powers, and competition. In addition to the long-term turbulence in the domestic situation in Somalia and the political chaos in Djibouti, Ethiopia, which has maintained political stability for many years, has now become the latest hot spot of turbulence. In November 2020, the postponement of the general election due to the new crown epidemic triggered an armed conflict between the “Tigray People’s Liberation Front” and the federal government led by Prime Minister Abi Ahmed. The conflict has lasted for more than a year and has been escalating. So far, thousands of people have died, hundreds of thousands have left their homes, and the problem of famine has continued to spread. In November 2021, the “Tigray People’s Liberation Front” armed alliance once advanced to the towns surrounding the capital Addis Ababa. Prime Minister Abiy personally went to the front to command operations. At present, the federal government has regained all major forces other than the northern Tigray State. In some areas.
“China plans to send a peace envoy to the Horn of Africa ravaged by conflict,” Reuters said on the 6th that China has always paid more attention to economic development and trade in Africa than political and diplomatic issues. China has not elaborated on the role that the special envoy for the Horn of Africa will play. Radio France International stated that the deteriorating security situation in the Horn of Africa worries Beijing. The Chinese Foreign Minister’s choice of this region for his first visit this year shows that Chinese leaders are concerned about the stability of the region. China has huge interests in this region, including large-scale infrastructure projects such as East Africa railways, highways, and power plants from Mombasa, Kenya to Malaba, Uganda. AllAfrica News Network stated that the proposal of the Chinese Foreign Minister to resolve the conflict in the Horn of Africa was welcomed by African countries and contributed to the final resolution of the conflict. As a neighboring country, Kenya has been mediating the internal armed conflict in Ethiopia, but with little success. China’s proposal is conducive to bridging the differences between all parties, avoiding further intensification of conflicts, and promoting the political settlement of disputes by all parties.
Many media also interpreted China’s Foreign Minister’s trip to Africa from the perspective of “China-US competition.” Agence France-Presse stated on the 7th that the first stop of Wang Yi’s visit was Eritrea, which was sanctioned by the United States for being accused of participating in the Ethiopian military conflict. This move may prompt Eritrea to further invest in China. Reuters quoted the analysis of “China-Africa Project” website editor Orlande, saying that Wang Yi’s Eritrea itinerary is of strategic significance in the context of Sino-US competition, “this is part of China’s unity of nations against sanctions”. After Kenya, Wang Yi went to Comoros, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Orland told Reuters, “The visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister to a small country like Comoros is inherently symbolic.”
On the 6th, Wang Yi was also invited to attend the completion ceremony of the Mombasa oil terminal undertaken by China with Kenyan President Kenyatta. He said that Africa should be a big stage for international cooperation, not an arena for competition among major powers. “If there is anything to compete, it must be compared. Who does more for Africa, who contributes more to Africa, and who pays more sweat and hard work for the African people.”
“The Chinese Foreign Minister denied that Chinese loans caused African countries to fall into a debt trap”, which also attracted media attention. Wang Yi said that the so-called “debt trap” in Africa is a hype with ulterior motives and a “discourse trap” created by external forces that do not want to see Africa accelerate its development. Wang Yi said that if there is really any “trap” in Africa, it is the “poverty trap” and the “backward trap”. China is willing to work with all friendly countries to help African countries accelerate their post-epidemic recovery, eliminate poverty and backwardness, catch up with the times as soon as possible, achieve common development, and create a better future.