PRETORIA — The Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, has lashed out at former United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his recent comments on China’s relationship with Africa.
Speaking in Johannesburg, Ambassador Ling said China was proud of its influence in Africa and remains the continent’s largest trading partner for the past nine years. He said China is the victim of a smear campaign by the United States.
The ambassador was responding to remarks made last week by Tillerson when he criticised China’s economic engagement in Africa, ahead of his first official visit to the continent, saying China encouraged dependency, utilised corrupt deals and endangered Africa’s natural resources.
Tillerson, who cut short his scheduled week-long tour of Africa, was dismissed Tuesday as Secretary of State by President Donald Trump who named Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement.
Claims Ambassador Lin emphatically denied Tillerson’s claims. I can speak loudly and responsibly that all development assistance from the Chinese government to Africa goes directly to project contractors, he said.
Lin highlighted China’s relationship with South Africa over the past 20 years. Last year, bilateral trade grew by 11.7 per cent to 39.17 billion US dollars, a more than 20-fold increase from the figure at the beginning of diplomatic relations.
China has for nine years in a row been South Africa’s largest trading partner, accounting for a quarter to a third of overall China-Africa trade.
More than 180 major Chinese enterprises and thousands of Chinese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have established business in South Africa, creating thousands of jobs for South Africans.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK