In recent times, the United States have continued to accuse China of its influence in Africa, especially in Zambia; but is the U.S. better off?
Zambia on its part, has put its feet on the ground to openly defended the activities of China in the country and criticized the United States for making false claims about the relationships between the two countries.
During the unveiling of the new United States policy for Africa tagged 'Prosper Africa' last week, the U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said that China’s activities in countries like Zambia shows the countries quest to gain power and dominance in Africa at every means possible.
The National Security Advisor, while speaking on China's increased influence in Zambia which he said were for the wrong reasons, said China was on track to take over utility company - Zesco to collect back its $6-10 billion debt.
Responding to the claims, Zambian presidential spokesman Amos Chanda while speaking to an international media agency said that the United States were wrong in its accusations.
According to him, Zambia’s total external debt was only $9.7 billion including the $3.1 billion which the country currently owed China.
However, he said Zambia valued its relations with both China and the United States and would not deal with either of them exclusively.
In the same vein, China’s foreign ministry through its spokeswoman Hua Chunying while speaking in Beijing at a daily news briefing earlier today said it hoped that the United States has learned her lesson from the ‘correction’ it received from Zambia on its unfounded claims.
“I hope they can learn a lesson and reflect on things; and going forward not blurt things out again”; she said.
You will recall that this is not the first time that Zambia has defended China and the country’s activities in the African continent.
Last month, a spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry, Geng Shuang, praised President Edgar Lungu for defending Chinese businessmen against the false accusations that they were planning to take over the state-owned timber company.
Speaking at a press conference, Geng Shuang said:
“The Chinese enterprises’ investments in Zambia have generated enormous job opportunities and boosted the socioeconomic development locally, to which we all bear witness.
“Early this month, some people in Kitwe of the Copperbelt province were misled by the false allegation about the takeover of the Zambia’s state-owned timber company by the Chinese side and took to street to protest, causing a minor disturbance. Some Chinese shops were looted but no one was injured. After that happened, the Chinese side immediately lodged representations with Zambia, and the Zambian side said it would take measures to safeguard the safety of the Chinese in Zambia.
“Recently, Zambian President Lungu openly refuted the false accusations against China-Zambia cooperation and clarified the facts of the riot, calling on the Zambians to boycott those false China-related reports and provide enabling environment for foreign investors, including Chinese ones, to operate in Zambia. Previously, Zambian Vice President Inonge Wina also pointed out that the protests in the Copperbelt province recently were caused by false allegations and that Zambians should not be misled. The Chinese side appreciates the above-mentioned remarks by Zambian leaders.
“In recent years, the practical cooperation between the two countries has achieved remarkable outcomes and brought benefits to the two peoples. The Chinese enterprises’ investments in Zambia have generated enormous job opportunities and boosted the socio-economic development locally, to which we all bear witness.
“Any responsible person will make objective evaluation of all these efforts, and any words and deeds intended to spoil China-Zambia friendship will never win the hearts of the people in the two countries. China stands ready to continue to work with Zambia to stay committed to win-win cooperation and common development and cement and deepen the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries.”
What are your thoughts?
These are some recent events that prove Zambia has become China’s first African colony, and sadly so.
Header Image Credit: Al Jazeera