Agency to drive ‘Belt and Road’

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CHINA plans to set up an in­ter­na­tional devel­op­ment co-op­er­a­tion agency to bet­ter co-or­di­nate for­eign aid and pro­mote its “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive, state coun­cil­lor Wang Yong said yes­ter­day.

The new agency will be re­spon­si­ble for form­ing poli­cies on for­eign aid, as well as grant­ing aid and over­see­ing its im­ple­men­ta­tion, ac­cord­ing to a par­lia­men­tary doc­u­ment re­leased ear­lier in the day.

“This will al­low aid to fully play its im­por­tant role in great power diplo­macy… and will bet­ter serve the build­ing of the ‘Belt and Road’,” Wang told par­lia­ment.

The new agency would work di­rectly un­der the State Coun­cil, China’s cab­i­net, and would com­bine the over­seas aid-re­lated re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the min­istry of com­merce and for­eign af­fairs, Wang said.

The Belt and Road ini­tia­tive refers to Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s land­mark scheme to build a new Silk Road, con­nect­ing China to Asia, Africa, Europe and be­yond.

The new formed as part of a broad reshuf­fle of the gov­ern­ment de­part­ments that China’s largely rub­ber-stamp par­lia­ment will for­mally ap­prove on Sat­ur­day.

A new state im­mi­gra­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion agency re­spon­si­ble for bor­der con­trol, repa­tri­at­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants and man­ag­ing for­eign­ers and refugees would also be set up un­der China’s Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity, Wang said.

China has only oc­ca­sion­ally pro­vided de­tails of its for­eign aid pro­gramme in re­cent years.

The last time it did, in a pol­icy pa­per re­leased in 2014, it said more than half of China’s for­eign aid of more than $14 bil­lion be­tween 2010 and 2012 went to Africa, un­der­scor­ing Bei­jing’s in­ter­est in the re­source-rich con­ti­nent to fuel its econ­omy.

It pro­vided no break­down of aid re­cip­i­ents or any yearly fig­ures. In 2011, China put its to­tal for­eign aid over the past six decades at 256.29 bil­lion yuan (R479bn).

An anal­y­sis by AidData, a re­search lab at Wil­liam Mary Univer­sity in the US state of Vir­ginia, found that of­fi­cial Chi­nese devel­op­ment as­sis­tance from 2000 to 2014 to­talled $81bn, with Cuba re­ceiv­ing the most aid.

Over­seas aid pro­vided by the US over the same pe­riod was $366bn, AidData said.

Much of China’s over­seas fi­nance is made in the form of loans or ex­port cred­its, which al­low in­fra­struc­ture-for-re­source deals.

This ap­proach gives China an ad­van­tage over the US in Africa, the of­fi­cial China Daily said yes­ter­day in an ed­i­to­rial on US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son’s visit to the con­ti­nent.

“China has been work­ing for years to try to meet Africa’s needs, help­ing African coun­tries build rail­ways, bridges and ports,” the news­pa­per said. – Reuters IN A NO-HOLDS-barred and strongly-worded re­buke, China’s am­bas­sador to South Africa, Lin Song­tian, on Mon­day took strong ex­cep­tion to US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son’s crit­i­cism of China’s African pol­icy.

Tiller­son was abruptly axed by Pres­i­dent Trump yes­ter­day.

He said the US wanted to create the im­pres­sion that China was aid­ing and abet­ting cor­rup­tion and loot­ing the re­sources of the con­ti­nent, whereas it was the US that feared los­ing its grip and in­flu­ence in Africa.

The row be­tween the US and China reached new lev­els af­ter Tiller­son, dur­ing his maiden African trip last week, said Chi­nese in­vest­ment in the con­ti­nent does not have the po­ten­tial to ad­dress in­fra­struc­ture chal­lenges and was not cre­at­ing any jobs in most coun­tries, adding that it en­dan­gered Africa’s nat­u­ral re­sources and its long-term eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity.

Ad­dress­ing the me­dia in Jo­han­nes­burg, Song­tian said the US was “smear­ing” China’s devel­op­ment in Africa and was ex­press­ing worry over China’s grow­ing in­flu­ence in Africa with their own “ul­te­rior mo­tives”, adding that Tiller­son did not come to Africa with the aim of help­ing African coun­tries.

Song­tian said China had be­come more and more popu-

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