Opinion / China Watch

Wen: China is no threat in Africa
Updated: 2006-06-19 09:09


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday that China's efforts to expand trade and energy ties in African and Latin American countries posed no threat to U.S. interests.

Speaking at a news conference in Cairo at the start of a tour of seven African countries, Wen said China's foreign policy was based on mutual benefit, adding that his country would not interfere in matters such as human rights.

"This attempt and efforts to develop relations are not directed at entering into any alliance and will not compromise the interests of any other countries," he said. "I am confident that the U.S. government also recognizes this."

Wen is the third high-ranking Chinese official to visit Africa in six months. Analysts say the visits emphasize Africa's strategic importance to China's efforts to supply its booming economy with energy and materials.

Human rights groups have voiced concern that China might obtain resources in Africa with little regard for the environment or the human rights records of the governments it deals with.

After meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Wen reiterated China's position of nonintervention.

Asked about promoting human rights in Africa, Wen replied, "We follow the principle of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and noninterference in others' internal affairs in our relations with African nations."

"There is no way that someone could ever put the hat of neocolonialism on the head of China," he said, adding that China had given billions in aid to Africa and had sent thousands of medical and technical personnel to help with various projects.

After visiting Egypt, where Chinese and Egyptian officials signed agreements on communications, trade and energy, Wen flew on to Ghana. His tour also includes stops in the Congo Republic, South Africa, Angola, Uganda and Tanzania.