China has defended its role on the African continent, following word that United States lawmakers plan to investigate Beijing’s expanding footprint in African nations and across the globe.
Devin Nunes, a Republican member of Congress from California and Chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that as part of the committee’s inquiry into Chinese influence they’ll be looking at the military base opened last year in Djibouti, among other things.
“We believe that they are looking at investing in ports and infrastructure around the globe, not just for military capabilities but also to control those governments, to have the ability to lobby and manipulate governments,” Nunes said of China during a Fox News program.
What countries in Africa have found out, he added, is that when China builds a railway or invests in companies, it comes with a price.
China’s spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – quoting two Chinese proverbs about suspicion – suggested that the U.S. is harboring groundless suspicions while guilty of its own hegemonic impulses.
Hua Chunying said she hopes the U.S. will be more open-minded and stop viewing Chinese intent through tinted glasses. “China always conducts cooperation with African countries in accordance with the vision of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests,” she added.
Nunes’ remarks come as President Donald Trump doubles down on trade with China, threatening up to USD$60 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods and railing against Beijing’s theft of intellectual property.
Earlier this month, members of a U.S. House Armed Services Committee raised questions about Djibouti giving the Doraleh port site to Beijing, which the small Horn of Africa nation swiftly denied.
Image: China MFA