China's government has hit back at the Trump administration, accusing the US president of "bullying" over his aggressive tactics in the escalating trade conflict between the two nations, saying it will "rise up" should a full-scale trade war break out.
"China doesn't want a trade war, but would rise up to it should it break out," Zhong Shan, China's minister for commerce said in a statement.
 
So far, the Trump administration has placed tariffs on $250 billion (R3.7 trillion) worth of Chinese goods, affecting more than 5,000 products. The president, however, has said he is willing to "go to 500"- a colloquial term for placing tariffs on all US imports from China.
 
What was initially seen as an empty threat is now viewed by many observers as a genuine possibility after the latest round of tariffs were announced in late September, after which Trump doubled down on his threats to tax all Chinese imports. Such threats, Zhong said, will not lead China to back down and offer the US concessions.
 
"There is a view in the US that so long as the US keeps increasing tariffs, China will back down. They don't know the history and culture of China," he said.
 
"This unyielding nation suffered foreign bullying for many times in history, but never succumbed to it even in the most difficult conditions," he continued.
 
"The US should not underestimate China's resolve and will."
 
Zhong's comments came just a few hours after President Trump once again accused China of taking advantage of the US over trade.
 
"We can't have a one-way street," Trump said during a press conference to discuss the resignation of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday afternoon.
 
"It's got to be a two-way street. It's been a one-way street for 25 years. We've got to make it a two-way street. We've got to benefit also," he told reporters.
 
Alongside increasing tariffs, communications between the two sides have become more and more strained in recent weeks. China in September called off planned talks between mid-level officials, and this week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exchanged displeased words with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during a trip to Beijing.
 
"Recently, as the US side has been constantly escalating trade friction toward China, it has also adopted a series of actions on the Taiwan issue that harm China's rights and interests, and has made groundless criticism of China's domestic and foreign policies," Wang said at a press conference.
 
"We demand that the US side stop this kind of mistaken action."
 
Pompeo hit back, saying the US has "great concerns about the actions that China has taken."
 
A currency war brewing?
Away from the escalating tensions over trade, the US Treasury has shown new concern about China's devaluation of the renminbi, an action it believes Beijing is using to strengthen its hand with regard to trade by making Chinese goods cheaper.
 
"As we look at trade issues there is no question that we want to make sure China is not doing competitive devaluations," Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday.
 
"We are going to absolutely want to make sure that as part of any trade understanding we come to that currency has to be part of that."
 
Trump has frequently criticised China for his belief that Beijing is artificially weakening its currency to make Chinese exports more competitive, something he believes Beijing is doing to hurt the US economy.
 
In August, he claimed that Beijing is a "currency manipulator."
 
 
Source: Business Insider

“China equals Hitler” said the sign held up in the Zambian capital Lusaka by a protester opposed to Beijing’s tightening grip on the economy of the southern African nation.

The demonstrator, James Lukuku, who leads a small political party, was picked up by police and spent several hours in a cell reflecting on his one-man protest.

But he is not alone in opposing China’s growing presence in President Edgar Lungu’s Zambia and in particular its major programme of loans to Lusaka. 

In fact his criticism echoes concerns shared by many across swathes of Africa and beyond, where some fear that China’s mega-projects risk leaving already fragile economies in even worse shape.

“I want to bring to the attention of the international community the Chinese influence and corruption in Zambia,” said Lukuku who wore a white T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan #sayno2China.

China is the main investor in Zambia as it is in several other African countries and with its offers of “unconditional” aid, most public tenders are awarded to Chinese bidders.

In Lusaka and across the country, China is busy constructing airports, roads, factories and police stations with the building boom largely funded by Chinese loans.

‘These criminal debts’

“China is about to take everything from Zambia. They have taken over our economy through these criminal debts. This government is contracting debts from China even without parliamentary approval,” said Lukuku.

Zambian public debt is officially around $10.6 billion but suspicions have grown in recent months that the government is hiding its indebtedness — as happened in neighbouring Mozambique, which in 2016 was forced to admit it had kept secret $2 billion of borrowing.

Fearing that Zambia might be in a similar position, the International Monetary Fund at one point delayed talks over a $1.3 billion loan deal.

The slump in the price of copper, Zambia’s leading export, has led to fears that Lusaka might even struggle to service its existing debt.

Lukuku and his supporters believe that the state is on the verge of handing control of the Zesco national electricity company, Lusaka airport and the ZNBC state broadcaster to China.

Stung by the criticism that he was selling out to China, Lungu has hit back at critics.

“I implore you to ignore the misleading headlines that seek to malign our relationship with China by mischaracterising our economic cooperation to mean colonialism,” Lungu told lawmakers recently.

‘The dominance of Chinese’

Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe has also come out to insist that, in the first half of 2018, $342 million was paid in interest to creditors, of which 53 percent were commercial sector — and only 30 percent of which were Chinese.

But the country’s main opposition party has put China’s debt dominance at the forefront of its campaign to unseat the government.

Opposition figure Stephen Katuka warned against the “rate Zambia is entertaining Chinese nationals which are displacing Zambians through big financial offers”.

Katuka, who is the secretary general of the United Party for National Development, described the replacement of Zambian workers with Chinese labourers — as is customary on Chinese-run projects — as “a time bomb”.

“If this situation is allowed to degenerate, it may lead to aggression on foreign nationals,” he added.

There have been several high profile incidents of Chinese managers allegedly mistreating their Zambian workers.

“In some instances the Chinese are beating Zambians in places of work for simply failing to follow instructions,” said Katuka.

Typically reclusive, China’s ambassador to Lusaka Lie Jie was drawn into the growing furore to defend Beijing’s intentions.

“I feel strange when I hear we want to colonise Africa,” he told journalists recently, categorically denying that China was seeking to buy Zambia’s publicly-owned companies.

Economist and head of Zambia’s Private Sector Development Association Yosuf Dodia told AFP that Chinese investment should be seen as an opportunity not a burden. 

“Zambia has been dominated by the West for 100 years… and we are seeing poverty all over the continent,” he said.

“The partnership level is around $10 billion — and that is good. There is no other country that offers those kinds of opportunities.”

The benefit of such vast investment is not always felt on the ground, however.

“I am not happy with the dominance of Chinese contractors. In the first place, the money that they get from these contracts is externalised and all that they return here are meagre wages,” said Edgar Syakachoma, himself a contractor.

“Let the government also give us the contracts so that they benefit Zambians.”

By AFP

President Muhammadu Buhari said Chinese loans to Nigeria were not “debt trap” as being purported, noting that the nation was able to repay all the loans as and when due.

This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

According to the statement, President Buhari was dispelling insinuations on how the Asian nation could be putting Nigeria under a massive debt through its financial support.

It said Nigeria’s partnership with China has resulted in the execution of critical infrastructure projects valued at more than $5 billion over the last three years.

It added that the projects being funded were perfectly in line with Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), adding that “some of the debts incurred are self-liquidating.”

“Let me use this opportunity to address and dispel insinuations about a so-called Chinese ‘debt trap’. We have completed and flagged off West Africa’s first urban rail system, valued at $500 million, in Abuja. Before then was the 180km rail line that connects Abuja and Kaduna, completed and commissioned in 2016, and running efficiently since then,” the statement read.

Buhari said Nigeria was leveraging Chinese funding to execute $3.4 billion worth of projects at various stages of completion, including upgrading of airport terminals, the Lagos – Kano rail line, Zungeru hydroelectric power project, and fibre cables for the country’s internet infrastructure, among others.

“Less than 3 months ago, Nigeria signed an agreement for an additional $1billion loan from China for additional rolling stock for the newly constructed rail lines, as well as road rehabilitation and water supply projects,” it added.

Two days ago, the presidential spokesman in a separate statement had said the two nations would sign a $328 million agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

On Monday, China pledged a total of $60 billion financial support for projects in Africa, but noted the funds are not for “vanity projects” but for building infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks.

 

The Ripples...

The Debt Management Office (DMO) on Tuesday said Nigerians have no reason to panic over Federal Government’s borrowing from China.

It said there is no risk of default on the loans because of the country’s “sound debt management practices.”

The DMO stated this in a statement in Abuja in response to rising criticism of the country’s borrowing culture from China as some Nigerians believed that the Asian country could be putting Nigeria under massive debt through its financial support.

It noted that the comments heightened following the recent summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

According to the debt office, it was important for the government to raise capital from several domestic and external sources to finance capital projects, in order to promote economic growth and development, as well as, job creation.

“One of the reasons why Nigeria would raise capital from Multilateral and Bilateral (external) sources is because they are Concessional which means that they are cheaper in terms of costs, and more convenient to service because they are usually of long tenors with grace periods,” it said.

Loans from Concessional Lenders have limits in terms of the amounts that they can provide to each country.

The DMO said borrowing from China Exim Bank is one of such means of ensuring that Nigeria had access to more long term concessional loans.

It said the loan would be used to finance road and rail transport, aviation, water, agriculture and power projects, adding that the terms of the loan were appropriate for the country’s financing needs and aligned with her debt management strategy.

“The public should be assured that Nigeria’s public debt is being managed under statutory provisions and international best practices, and there is no risk of default on any loan, including the Chinese loans.

“Thus, the possibility of a takeover of assets by a lender does not exist.

“For the avoidance of doubt, government’s borrowing in the domestic and external markets, including Chinese loans, are all backed by the full faith and credit of government, rather than a pledge of government’s assets.

“Finally, borrowing from China should not be seen from a negative perspective as they are being used to finance Nigeria’s infrastructural development at concessional terms,’’ DMO said.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had said Chinese loans to Nigeria were not “debt trap” as being purported. According to him, the nation was able to repay all the loans as and when due.

Nigeria and China had signed a $328 million agreement on the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) at the FOCAC Summit.

Last week, China pledged a total of $60 billion financial support for projects in Africa, but noted the funds are not for “vanity projects” but for building infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks.

 

The Ripples...

China has agreed to restructure some of Ethiopia’s loans, including a loan for a four billion dollars railway linking its capital Addis Ababa with neighbouring Djibouti, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday.
 
“`During our stay, we had the opportunity to enact limited restructuring of some of our loans.
 
“In particular, the loan for the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway which was meant to be paid over 10 years has now been extended to 30 years.
 
“Its maturity period has also been extended,” Ahmed told newsmen in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, upon return from a summit in China.
 
President Xi Jinping announced 60 billion dollars in aid and loans for Africa on Monday while hosting more than 40 of the continent’s leaders in Beijing, saying that the money came with no expectation of anything in return.
 
Beijing pushed back on criticism that it was shackling poorer countries with heavy debt burdens they will struggle to pay back, portraying the Chinese government as a magnanimous one motivated only to share its experience of rapid industrialization.
 
“China’s investment in Africa does not come with any political conditions attached and will neither interfere in internal politics nor make demands that people feel are difficult to fulfill,” Xi said during a keynote address to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on Monday.
 
Zi said the money will be focused on infrastructure to help speed African countries’ development, not on “vanity projects.”
 
The package outlined by Xi also includes medical aid, environmental protection, agricultural training and assistance, and government scholarships and vocational training for more than 100,000 young Africans.
 
At the last forum, held in Johannesburg three years ago, Xi also pledged $60 billion in investment.
 
He said Monday that this money had already been granted or earmarked, so the latest announcement represented a second round of 60 billion dollars.
 
The program is part of Xi’s broader Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious $120-billion-plus project that aims to link 65 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa — together accounting for almost two-thirds of the world’s population — through infrastructure projects and trade.
 
At a time when President Trump is engaged in trade fights with the United States’ neighbors and allies, the Chinese leader seems to relish the opportunity to appear as a popular international statesman and champion of the liberal economic order.
 
For two days in a row, every headline on the front page of the state-run People’s Daily started with the words “Xi Jinping,” as the president met with the leaders of Angola, Gabon, Mauritius, Senegal and elsewhere.
 
He also hosted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
 
Analysts have raised concerns about African countries, many of which are subject to the whims of commodity markets, not being able to repay Chinese loans.
 
The three countries most vulnerable because of large debts owed to China are Djibouti, Congo and Zambia, say academics at the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University.
 
Zambia, which has a gross domestic product of 19.5 billion dollars, according to the World Bank, had taken about 6.4 billion dollars in loans from China, the researchers wrote in a briefing paper last month.
 
But Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who chairs the African Union, said that rather than viewing the investment as a “debt trap,” other countries should be asking why they’re not giving Africa as much assistance as China.
 
“We have benefited a lot from China’s support in our social and economic programs, and that has continued to strengthen the partnership between China and Rwanda,” Kagame told the People’s Daily.
The Chinese Government has expressed readiness to invest N2.16 trillion ($60 billion) in Africa in the next three years.
 
The Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr Chao Xiaoliang disclosed this in a post-summit article entitled, “FOCAC Beijing Summit: A New Milestone in China-Africa Relations”.
 
Chao said the new investment drive was one of the outcomes of the just concluded summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation(FOCAC).
 
He said China would also in the next three collaborate with African countries in industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, healthcare, people-to-people, peace and security.
 
“President Xi Jinping has announced that China will launch eight major initiatives in close collaboration with African countries in the next three years.
 
“The eight initiatives are in areas of industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people, peace and security.
 
“To make sure these eight initiatives are implemented, China will extend 60 billion U.S. dollars (N2.16 trillion) financing to Africa in different forms which includes 15 billion U.S. dollars (N5.4 trillion) grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans.
 
“China will also encourage Chinese companies to invest more than 10 billion U.S. dollars (N3.6 trillion) in Africa in the coming three years,’’ he said.
 
According to him, China and African countries are destined to be good friends, good brothers and good partners.
 
Chao said that the Chinese government had also planned to set up ten Luban vocational workshops and an China-Africa innovation cooperation centres for youth innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.
 
“There will also be a tailor-made programme to train 1000 Africans, as well as offer of 50,000 government scholarships to Africans.
 
“There will also be training opportunities for 50, 000 Africans through workshops and seminars and 2000 exchange opportunities for African youth,’’ he said.
 
Chao said the Summit was attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, 49 other Heads of State and Government, African Union (AU) Commission’s Chairperson and more than 240 Ministerial representatives from 53 African countries.
 
The consul-general said the meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Muhammadu Buhari at the summit, ended with the signing of more bilateral cooperation agreements between China and Nigeria.
 
He added: “We are confident that the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the meeting between the two Presidents will bring new opportunities for the comprehensive development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership.
 
“FOCAC Beijing Summit has set a new milestone for China-Africa relations. China with Nigeria and other African countries are ready to join hands to build a China-Africa community.
 
“A community with a shared future that features joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, common cultural prosperity,
common security, and harmonious co-existence.’’
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA
More Kenyans believe that China constitutes the biggest threat to the country’s economic and political development than the United States of America, a survey shows.
 
The survey by Ipsos Synovate released on Wednesday revealed that 26 per cent of Kenyans see the Asian country as a threat to the development of Kenya, more than double the perception towards the US which ranks at 12 per cent up.
 
GRAFT
 
According to the survey conducted between July 25 and August 2, the unfavourable perception of China comes in the shape of threats posed by its cheap goods, fear of fostering corruption and leading to job losses.
 
A total of 38 per cent of Kenyans think that the continued relationship between Kenya and China will lead to job losses. This is only 11 percent in the relationship between Kenya and USA.
 
Another 25 per cent think that China will flood the Kenyan market with cheap goods compared to 18 percent perception of the US.
 
Perception of Kenyans towards China has taken a nosedive since March this year dropping from 34 per cent at that time while US’s has been on the rise since then from 26 percent to the current 35 per cent.
 
The perception is, however, skewed politically with more National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters thinking that Kenya’s bilateral relationship with China is a bigger threat at 33 percent compared to 10 percent with USA.
 
For Jubilee supporters, only 23 per cent hold similar views on Kenya’s relationship with China but more on US compared to Nasa supporters at 16 percent.
 
On the flipside, approval for China comes because of its infrastructure projects in the country at 86 per cent compared to only 38 per cent for US. For US, its loan and grants to Kenya wins it an approval of 49 per cent compared to a paltry 11 per cent for China.
 
This is even as 35 per cent Kenyans say that USA is more important for Kenya to have relations with compared to only 25 per cent for China.
 
However, more Kenyans think that the country’s relationship with US will see the world superpower undermine the Kenyan culture, her elections and encourage terrorism at 14, 12 and 9 per cent respectively. This the Chinese are seen to have no effect on with 3, 0 and 2 per cent perception in that order.
 
More Nasa supporters at 49 per cent compared to Jubilee supporters’ 28 percent see bilateral relations with the US as critical.
 
However, more Jubilee supporters at 30 per cent to 19 per cent for their Nasa counterparts approve of relationship with China.
 
A total of 2, 016 Kenyans were interviewed in 46 counties using face to face interview at the household level with a margin of +/-2.16 per cent and a 95 per cent confidence level.
 
The survey also came before four important events in the country’s foreign relation development.
 
It was before Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma held talks with US counterparts in Washington DC on August 22 ahead President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit five days later.
 
Five days later President Kenyatta held talks with US President Donald Trump and also met US business leaders.
 
President Kenyatta then welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May three days later in Kenya before flying to China the next day for a major African-Chinese summit on economic partnership.

China has pledge a total of $60 billion financial support for projects in Africa, Chinese President, Xi Jinping, announced on Monday.

The President, who made the announcement while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in China, said the funds are not for “vanity projects” but for building infrastructure that can remove development bottlenecks.

The President said the financing would be provided in the form of governance assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies.

“China does not interfere in Africa’s internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa.

“What we value is the sharing of development experience and the support we can offer to Africa’s national development and prosperity,” Xi said.

He stated that government debt from China’s interest free loans due by the end of 2018 would be written off for indebted poor African countries as well as for developing nations in the continent’s interior and small island nations.

According to a data from China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington’s Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, the Asian nation has extended about $136 billion in loans to Africa between 2000 and 2017.

With the new $60 billion financing, the total loans extended to the nation in the last eighteen years is now $196 billion.

The new financing will include $15 billion of aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a credit line of $20 billion, a $10 billion special fund for China-Africa development, and a $5 billion special fund for imports from Africa, according to Xi.

He further noted that Chinese companies would be encouraged to invest $10 billion in the continent in the next three years.

International organisations have expressed worry over the latest pledge by China for Africa, noting such loans would further sink nations within the continent under massive debt.

However, the country denied it engagement in “debt trap” diplomacy, adding that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.

“I also hope you will do more in staff training and bettering lives for the local people and will put more emphasis on the environment and resources,” he added.

 

The Ripples...

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has proven to be productive and effective in boosting China-Africa cooperation, a Chinese special envoy said.
 
Zhou Yuxiao, China’s ambassador for FOCAC affairs, said this in an interview with Xinhua prior to the FOCAC Beijing Summit in September, expressing his confidence in the event’s success.
 
Zhou said FOCAC has grown into a dynamic mechanism with rich content and tangible results, following the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice, and shared interests.
 
“China neither imposes its own will on others nor seeks its sphere of influence,” said Zhou.
 
“The concept of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits’ is upheld when China cooperates with African countries.”
 
FOCAC was founded in 2000 and its membership had grown to have China, 53 African countries having diplomatic relations with China, and the African Union Commission as of June 2018, according to the FOCAC website.
 
Under the FOCAC framework, there are regular consultations at ministerial and senior-official levels, and between the Chinese Follow-up Committee and the African Diplomatic Corps in China.
 
Sub-forums on business, youth, health and poverty reduction, and many others, have also been set up.
 
FOCAC has held two summits gathering leaders of China and African countries, one in Beijing in 2006 and another in Johannesburg in 2015.
 
“FOCAC is not for idle words, but a platform to unleash real actions,” said Zhou.
 
The veteran diplomat, who spent years in Africa and served as the Chinese ambassadors to Liberia and Zambia, said he had witnessed the development of FOCAC over the years.
 
It began with small steps, with a focus on aid, trade, debt relief, personnel training but gradually grew to a comprehensive platform that covers industrialization, agricultural modernization, financing, green development, people-to-people exchanges, and security.
 
Zhou said FOCAC has won wide support from African countries for its efficient enforcement means, clear time-bound action plans, and an effective evaluation system.
 
He also attributed the mechanism’s effectiveness to the adequate funding.
 
For example, Zhou said, China pledged financing support amounting to 60 billion U.S. dollars to implement the ten cooperation plans announced at the 2015 FOCAC summit in Johannesburg.
 
Projects can also be funded by the Silk Road Fund or the BRICS New Development Bank.
 
Meanwhile, the Chinese government encourages trustworthy and competent Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa.
 
Both China’s ability to “walk the walk” and African countries’ active collaboration are key to the success of FOCAC, Zhou said.
 
“That is why FOCAC has earned wide recognition from African countries as well as the international community, and expectations are high for the upcoming summit,” said Zhou.
 
The summit is scheduled for Sept. 3 to Sept. 4 in Beijing. Priorities and key directions for China-Africa cooperation in the next three years will be announced.
 
A key aspect to watch, Zhou said, will be how China and Africa link the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and African countries’ development plans.
 
With the “twin engines” of the BRI and FOCAC, China-Africa cooperation is poised to move forward more steadily, faster and further.
 
“I’m confident that the summit will be a complete success,” said Zhou.
 
 
Vanguard..

Construction of a motorway in Guinea-Bissau, estimated to cost US$16.5 million and with funding from the People’s Republic of China, is expected to begin shortly, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Works, Buildings and Urban Development released on Tuesday in Bissau.

The statement said that Minister Óscar Barbosa and the Chinese ambassador to China, Jin Hongjun, held a meeting where, among other things, they agreed on the need to start work on this project that will connect Bissau to the town of Safim, 15 kilometres north of the capital.

Both parties spoke of the preliminary work to be done, namely the identification of properties and residences that will be affected along the stretch and calculate the value of the respective damages, the statement said.

The work will be carried out by companies from China and will have a local workforce, said the press release which did not specify the exact date of commencement of work.

The motorway in question, “a modern engineering work,” according to the former Chinese ambassador to Guinea-Bissau, Wang Hua, will have three lanes in each direction and its own lighting.

Credit: macauhub

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