Agency to drive ‘Belt and Road’
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-