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Cablegate: Enticed by Africa's Manifold Riches, Americans and Chinese

VZCZCXRO5585
PP RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #3422/01 2330834
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210834Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5182
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 003422

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON EFIN EINV EAID EIND KDEM CH XA SF
SUBJECT: ENTICED BY AFRICA'S MANIFOLD RICHES, AMERICANS AND CHINESE
SEEK TO WORK TOGETHER TO HELP THE CONTINENT DEVELOP

(U) This cable is Sensitive But Unclassified. Not for Internet
distribution.

1. (SBU) Summary: About 30 government, academic and business leaders
-- including several former senior State Department officials --
held a groundbreaking dialogue to explore how China and the U.S.
could work with Africa to spur development on the continent.
Discussions centered on energy, trade and investment, conflict
resolution and good governance. Some areas of shared interest, such
as promoting peace and stability, were identified, yet so too were a
number of hurdles to meaningful collaboration. These included the
need for greater clarity from Africa in defining its priorities and
the often stark differences between Chinese and U.S. foreign-policy
principles. The group plans two more meetings next year to flesh out
its as-yet amorphous ideas and to issue a report. End Summary.

2. (U) The Africa-China-U.S. Dialogue held at a private resort in
South Africa from August 4-6 was organized by three think tanks --
the Council on Foreign Relations, the Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences (CASS) and South Africa-based The Brenthurst Foundation --
to spur discussion on how Africa could benefit from collaboration
with the two global powers that many believe loom largest in the
continent's future. The timing of this first of three planned
meetings comes amid growing global interest in Africa's oil and
other natural resources, particularly from China.

3. (U) Among U.S. participants were several former State Department
officials: Chester Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State for African
Affairs from 1981-89; Princeton Lyman, former Ambassador to South
Africa and Nigeria; Thomas Pickering, former Under Secretary of
State for Political Affairs; former U.S. Ambassador to China J.
Stapleton Roy; and Witney Schneidman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State for African Affairs during the Clinton Administration. China's
delegation was split between officials from its embassy in Pretoria
and CASS academics, while participating Africans included
businessmen, academics, Botswana's Minister of Trade and Industry
and the King of Lesotho. There were no government representatives
from the continent's two sub-Saharan powerhouses of South Africa and
Nigeria.

4. (SBU) Participants quickly agreed with virtually no discussion
that no strategic conflict existed between the U.S. and China in
Africa despite the scramble for oil and other natural resources,
thereby making collaboration possible. Yet despite a few
broad-themed presentations and comments by African delegates
outlining their views of the continent's priorities, several
participants said at the end of the conference they remained
uncertain what Africa really wants from the two powers. Roy, who
chaired the meeting's closing session, said he had "no clear sense"
of what Africa desired, while Pickering acknowledged he found it
hard "to crystallize African views."

5. (SBU) Perhaps an even greater hurdle to effective collaboration
was the wide divergence between China's traditional foreign-policy
principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other
countries, which often is seen in the West as a cover for dealing
with corrupt or rogue regimes, and U.S. promotion of good governance
and democracy. China's non-interference policy was robustly defended
by Minister Counselor Zhou Yuxiao, the top diplomat at the Chinese
Embassy in Pretoria, despite American and African participants'
insistence that the policy runs counter to broad African support for
democracy. One African delegate suggested the U.S. and China work
together to promote democratic reform, which left others puzzling
over what role China might play given its own lack of experience
with and enthusiasm for elections.

6. (SBU) Despite these obstacles, some possible areas of
collaboration were discussed. Several Americans suggested a
pan-Africa version of the Sullivan principles, which were drafted to
ensure that U.S. corporate behavior in South Africa during apartheid
supported economic, social and political justice. They also argued
that China and the U.S. should work together to bring peace to
Sudan. The Chinese delegates neither explicitly endorsed nor ruled
out such proposals. Yu Yongding, an influential CASS academic, said
that China should change its non-interference principle to provide
leeway for action to, for example, respond to genocide.

7. (SBU) Zhou suggested that the U.S. and China could work together
on country-specific development projects such as the Accelerated and
Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (ASGISA) and its Joint
Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA), South African
government programs in which he said China planned to invest $20
million. He said China and the U.S. also could work through the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), while Yu expressed
support for collaboration through the United Nations and the African
Union.

PRETORIA 00003422 002 OF 002

8. (SBU) Comment: Inevitably discussions at this first of three
meetings focused on generalities and on participants' exploring
where coordinated action to help Africa development might work and
where it would be impracticable. If the group is to have any impact,
it will have to devote the next two meetings to developing concrete
proposals for governments to consider. In addition to thinking about
how the two powers could work together on intractable issues such as
the Sudan crisis, where the prospects of meaningful collaboration
are uncertain at best, the group also should focus on how the U.S.
and China can cooperate in areas where both already are actively
assisting Africa, such as health, agriculture and infrastructure.
Ambassador Lyman, for one, wants to focus on these areas at
subsequent meetings.

9. (SBU) Comment continued: China, with its inclusion of three
Pretoria-based diplomats in the South Africa meeting, clearly has
signaled its interest in the dialogue. In the subsequent two
meetings, the State Department also should ensure it has appropriate
representation - perhaps the Ambassador and/or one or two diplomats
from Embassy Beijing's political section at the China meeting and
representatives from the Africa Bureau at the Washington meeting.
Even if the dialogue does not meet its ambitious goal of drafting a
workable blueprint for U.S.-China collaboration to help Africa
develop, such participation can provide a valuable window into
China's thinking on its role in the continent's future. End
Comment.

BOST

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