On Monday, China’s first special envoy to the Horn of Africa offered to mediate disputes in the region as Beijing seeks to increase its influence and protect its investments from conflicts.
“I am ready to mediate disputes peacefully based on the will of the countries of this region,” Xue Bing said at a China-led peace conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The strategic region of the Horn of Africa is centered on Ethiopia, which has recently been shaken by war from the northern region of Tigray.
Ethiopian government spokesman Legisi Tulu did not respond Monday when asked if the government would accept China’s mediation offer after the region has witnessed other mediation efforts by the African Union, the US, and Kenya in recent months.
Foreign ministers and representatives from Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti attended the Chinese-led peace conference. It is worth noting that Eritrea, which joined Ethiopian forces in the Tigray conflict, was conspicuously absent and was among the African countries visited by China’s foreign minister earlier this year.
China’s interests in the Horn of Africa include its first overseas military base in Djibouti, oil investments in Sudan and South Sudan, the industrialization of Ethiopia, and many infrastructure projects.
In his speech, the Chinese envoy mentioned the “complex and interconnected issues of race, religion and borders” in the region, adding that they could be “difficult to deal with as many of them date back to the colonial era.” China, like Russia, emphasized the lack of colonial activity in Africa, unlike many European countries.
Source: Associated Press