tirsdag 28. januar 2020

Through Eritrea, China Quietly Makes Inroads Near the Red Sea

As Iran continues to dominate headlines across the Western world, China’s far quieter quest to influence Africa and Asia has escaped the news media’s attention of late. The many examples of this Chinese strategy include the world power’s relationship with Eritrea, a country on the Horn of Africa that rarely features in geopolitical discussions. Nonetheless, officials in Beijing intend to turn what some analysts still label “Africa’s North Korea” into a centerpiece of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s costly economic megaproject inspired by the Silk Road.

In May 2019, Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Beijing to laud what Eritrean officials dubbed “a healthy and strong partnership for the benefit of their two peoples.” Just five months later, Chinese Ambassador to Eritrea Yang Zigang said in an interview with Eritrea’s state-owned media that “China has consistently supported Eritrea’s nation-building endeavors by providing Eritrea with many kinds of assistance.”