At the end of this past week, there were a few news articles about China beginning to raise its influence on Sudan, particularly the situation in Darfur. The news came as a US envoy completed its visit with Beijing about the issue. Some reports suggested the US took credit for asking China to exert pressure on Sudan. Regardless of where the credit should be given, China’s influence on Africa is building up.

China held its 2nd annual China-Africa summit this past November. Many bloggers have written detailed analysis on the summit and the growing relationship between China and Africa. Check out the posts in Chippla’s Weblog, China Business Services, and the article in written by Jennifer Brea of Africabeat.

After talking to some local Darfur activists about China’s activities in Sudan, I came to a conclusion that oil and other resources are the major key to the relationship. The Action Plan adopted at the summit contains many details of China’s offer of assistance to African countries in many different ways ranging from financial aid to expertise in agriculture, science, technology, education, medical care, etc, plus the specific positions agreed by both sides in regards to various UN-related issues, and a particularly short description on energy and resources which included this sentence, “China gives high priority to helping African countries turn their advantages in energy and resources into development strengths.” Meanwhile, the Declaration, also adopted at the summit calls for “reform of the United Nations” and that the African countries “adhere to the one China policy and support China’s peaceful reunification.”

There is definitely a lot to read and decipher to fully understand the motives of the Chinese government and the economic and political gains both sides will achieve from extending their cooperation. On the surface, however, other countries appear to have missed out on acquiring priority access to Africa through diplomatic relations. And China is becoming more influential in international affairs adding to its established relationship with North Korea and inching through the Middle East.

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