The Chinese government says it is ready to support a plan by the African Union (A.U.) to establish a representational office in its capital, Beijing.
This is according to a communique issued by the A.U. following a two-day official visit (January 8 – 9, 2018) to the country by chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.
“China welcomed the planned establishment of an African Union Office in Beijing to ensure effective and timely follow-up of the China-Africa partnership, and committed to support the setting up of this Office.
“This representation will also support the work of the African Group of Ambassadors in Beijing, to ensure alignment with African Union positions. It should be noted that China had established a Permanent Mission to the African Union, since 2015,” the communique read in part.
The A.U. chief was accompanied by high-level commissioners on the Beijing trip which afforded the continent’s top diplomat the opportunity to interact with China who have been described as a long partner and friend of the continent.
Aside meetings with his hosts, Faki Mahamat held meetings with African ambassadors based in China.
“During his meeting with the African Group of Ambassadors, the Chairperson of the Commission briefed them on his mission, including the planned establishment of an African Union representational office in Beijing. The Chairperson also led an interactive discussion on the institutional reform of the African Union,” the statement added.
Other topical issues discussed include the pledges by the Chinese to support mainly diplomatic relations, economic, health and security efforts on the continent.
“Furthermore, China agreed to continue supporting institutional capacity at the African Union. This is in addition to their ongoing support for African Union infrastructure, including the New Conference Centre and the renovation of other buildings in the African Union compound.”
A topical issue between the two groups has been the report by French newspaper Le Monde which alleged that China was spying on the A.U. headquarters in Addis Ababa. The reports have been categorically rubbished by China and the A.U. as false and incapable of straining relations.