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China’s Bumbling Debt Communications Hurts Africa

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. AFP.

Even though China is a central actor in the burgeoning African debt crisis, it’s often hard to tell. Chinese stakeholders in this unfolding drama are notoriously silent when it comes to communicating their positions and signaling to the markets and other governments as to what their intentions are.

When the rare Chinese diplomat in Africa does comment on the issue, it’s usually neither insightful nor helpful. This week, Chu Maoming, the consul general in Lagos, simply parroted the same, tired talking points about China-Africa “mutually beneficial cooperation” that were earlier put out by the Foreign Ministry in Beijing. Li Nan, the outspoken deputy chief of mission in Pretoria, also used a speaking opportunity at a recent think tank conference to once again rail against U.S.-led “debt trap” accusations

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