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The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Tepid Response to the Escalating Loan Controversy in Nigeria

File photo of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Beijing.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday issued a statement in response to the escalating “sovereign immunity controversy” in Nigeria. The ministry did not specifically address “clause 8(1)” which stipulates that Nigeria will waive its sovereign immunity in the event of a default on the loan. Although this is standard legal boilerplate language in these kinds of contracts, it set off a firestorm that’s still raging through Nigerian media, social media, and political circles.

The Chinese statement, according to a report in the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard, restated Beijing’s longstanding “five-no” policy that is the architecture of its African policy (no strings attached, no interference in internal affairs, no seeking of selfish political gains, no imposition of its will on African countries and no interference in Africa’s development path) and added that China remains concerned about debt sustainability.

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