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With Chinese and Russian Warships Heading to South Africa, Pretoria Sends a Powerful Message to the U.S. 

People's Liberation Army Navy 054A frigate PLA Yueyang an identical vessel as to what will be used in the upcoming naval exercise with Russian and South African forces. File photo.

If U.S. officials haven’t received the message yet that Pretoria is increasingly aligning its foreign policy with Washington’s two most formidable adversaries then the image of Chinese and Russian warships docked in Cape Town later this month should do the trick. 

Those warships will join the South African navy at the to participate in their first-ever joint naval exercises. There’s no doubt the optics here will be very powerful. But more importantly, it highlights how Cyril Ramaphosa, more than most African leaders, is strenuously distancing himself from the United States — who can forget when Ramaphosa accused Americans of being “clearly jealous” of Huawei’s 5G technology, his enthusiastic embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin or his assertion that Donald Trump is ‘seeking to divide our nation‘?  

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