China and Japan trade barbs over Africa policies

The deep-rooted animosity between China and Japan has taken ground on a new battlefield as the two Asian nations trade jabs at each other’s policies on Africa.

Both keen on gaining support from African nations, Japan and China pledged more assistance and investment in the continent, but not without taking a swipe at the other’s policies.

Japan, whose leader is touring three nations in Africa, suggested that China is buying off African leaders with lavish gifts.

“Countries like Japan, Britain and France cannot provide African leaders with beautiful houses or beautiful ministerial buildings,” Tomohiko Taniguchi, a spokesman for the prime minister, said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to pledge more than $14 billion in aid and trade deals during his trip to Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and Mozambique.

“Japan’s aid policy is to really aid the human capital of Africa,” Taniguchi told the BBC.

China accused Japan of courting Africa for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council while it insisted its aid and cooperation with the region are “completely selfless.”

Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, said Beijing does not approve of “certain countries” that try to compete with others for their own interests and offer aid to Africa out of purely political motives.

China also pledged to double its aid to $20 billion a year for the continent, hailed as a “golden ground” for Chinese foreign investment.

The two countries—Asia’s largest and second-largest economies—have locked horns over political and territorial clout in the region.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: Flickr/CSIS: Center for Strategic & International Studies

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