Sunday, May 27, 2018

China Eyes Swaziland After Establishing Ties With Burkina Faso
By Yin Han
Global Times
2018/5/27 22:48:40

Beijing aims to forge ‘friendship family’ with all countries of Africa

China looks forward to establishing formal diplomatic relations with all the countries of Africa, Chinese observers said on Sunday, after another African nation established diplomatic ties with Beijing.

"Both China and Africa expect a great reunion of the Sino-African friendship family," the People's Daily commented on Sunday.

"Burkina Faso's return facilitates another step toward the goal."

China and Burkina Faso on Saturday announced the resumption of diplomatic ties in a joint communiqué in Beijing.

The foreign minister of Burkina Faso, Alpha Barry, announced two days earlier that the country had cut "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan.

"This decision is guided by the firm desire of the government of Burkina Faso to defend the interests of Burkina Faso and its people in the concert of nations," Barry said in a statement on Thursday.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China appreciated the move at a daily press briefing on Friday.

"This is a correct decision made by the Burkina Faso government in keeping with the trend of the times and the world," he said.

Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore is expected to attend the summit for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing in September.

Burkina Faso, the western African country covering an area of 270,000 square kilometers with a population of 20 million, was Taiwan's largest partner.

It is the fourth country to ditch Taiwan and establish diplomatic relations with the Chinese mainland since 2016, following Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and Dominica.

Taiwan has 18 remaining diplomatic allies.

All eyes turn to Swaziland, the only African country remaining without diplomatic ties with Beijing.

In April, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen visited Swaziland.

"There is only one country in Africa that does not have diplomatic relations with the Chinese mainland, and we sincerely hope this country joins the China-Africa family at an early date," Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after he signed the joint communiqué with Barry.

Establishing positive relations with Beijing has enabled countries to benefit from multiple cooperative development projects including the Belt and Road initiative, said He Wenping, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of West Asian and African Studies.

"Thinking for their own good, countries will surely make their correct choices," He told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The US has lost trust from European and other countries due to its unreliability," He said.

"Its petty actions on the Taiwan question can only hurt relations with Beijing, and definitely will not affect other countries' stand in support of the one-China principle," He noted.

Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times,  "Apparently the US is just using Taiwan as a lever in order to push Beijing to yield on the trade issue between China and the US."

Through aid and financial support, China has helped build or is building more than 6,200 kilometers of railways in Africa, aiming to improve Africa's transport, the Xinhua News Agency reported in 2017.

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