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A Letter From an Observer in Africa to the Pacific Islands on How to Take Advantage of Your New Relationship With China

File image of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Solomon Islands' Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on September 21, 2019. NOEL CELIS / AFP

As China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi kicks off his visit to seven Pacific Island States amid a collective freakout from Western powers, Africans may be feeling a sense of deja vu. 

To be sure, some aspects of Wang’s approach differ from Africa’s experience with China. For example, a recently circulated draft communique and five-year joint action plan skips over China’s usual bilateral country-by-country approach in favor of a multilateral deal with ten Pacific states at once. 

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