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Chinese Foreign Ministry Issues a Rare, Albeit Bland, Statement on the Conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

The Chinese government has been characteristically mute on the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia since fighting broke out last November. This is by no means surprising, given that the Chinese foreign ministry does its level best to avoid commenting on conflicts in other countries which it regards as the internal affairs of that state. More importantly, Beijing wants to avoid creating an opening for other powers, namely the U.S. and Europe, to comment on domestic issues in China.

So, it was a bit surprising that a Chinese state-owned media channel raised the issue at the Foreign Ministry’s regular press briefing in Beijing. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s answer was wholly unremarkable, but it was interesting that the issue was raised at all.

Beijing Media Network: The international community is increasingly paying attention to the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region after the conflict. The Ethiopian government said that it is focusing on rebuilding the Tigray region and providing humanitarian assistance, and called on the international community to provide support in this regard. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: As a good friend to Ethiopia, China hopes that all Ethiopian people including those in Tigray enjoy peace, stability, and prosperity. We support the Ethiopian government’s effort in providing help and assistance to people in Tigray and restoring local life and production. Given the shortage of basic living materials in Tigray, China will offer emergency food assistance including rice and wheat to relieve the difficulties faced by the local people. We also call on the international community to give more support and make a joint contribution to restoring normal life and work in Tigray.

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