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Taking Stock of Wang Yi’s African Tour

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo (R) at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel where they met for a bilateral meeting on January 6, 2022. Tony KARUMBA / AFP

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to East Africa and the Indian Ocean region is only halfway through, but it has already produced several interesting data points:

In the first place, Wang made an oblique reference to China’s willingness to develop Eritrea’s coast. This seems to chime with analysts’ predictions earlier this week that Wang’s visit combines a focus on the Indian Ocean with plans to cement China’s presence on the Red Sea. Wang didn’t explain what this development would entail, but any Chinese projects on the Eritrean coast would probably dovetail with China’s strong focus on the shipping routes in the region and its base across the border in Djibouti.

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