Search

 

Cablegate: South Africa: Opinions On China

VZCZCXRO7708
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHJO #0302/01 2970837
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240837Z OCT 07
FM AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6017
INFO RUCNSAD/SADC COLLECTIVE
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 0005
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0042
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 0001
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 2764

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JOHANNESBURG 000302

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PASS DOL/ILAB FOR SUDHA HALEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PREL ELAB SF CH
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA: OPINIONS ON CHINA

REF: STATE 136164

JOHANNESBU 00000302 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary: Consul General recently received his counterpart,
newly-arrived Chinese Consul General FANG Li, and discussed
US-China cooperation under the Strategic Economic Dialogue, as
well as preparations for South Africa's hosting of the 2010
World Cup Soccer. An October 18 discussion on China in Africa
organized under the auspices of the South African Institute of
International Affairs meanwhile offered a variety of
perspectives on China's involvement in Africa. Several
speakers, including the Ambassador of Peru and High Commissioner
of Singapore, used carefully nuanced language in noting the
benefits and possible pitfalls of enhanced engagement. End
Summary.

2. Consul General Coffman met with his newly-arrived
counterpart on October 18. During the courtesy call, Mr. Fang
made a point of commenting that China and the U.S. were
cooperating on a variety of issues, including North Korea and
Sudan, and that he was looking forward to working with the U.S.
Consulate General on a number of issues, particularly, security.
CG Coffman explained how he planned to use his role as the US
Mission's coordinator for assistance to South Africa on the 2010
World Cup preparations to energize the Johannesburg Consular
Corps to come together on a number of common issues, among which
security was the top priority. The Chinese Consul General
seemed seriously concerned for the safety of his compatriots
given Joburg's record of violent criminality, a fair share which
is directed to the Chinese community. Mr. Fang also talked
about his experiences serving in the U.S., first in the Embassy
in Washington a number of years ago, and more recently having
served as Deputy Consul General in Houston.

3. In a separate meeting on China's role in Africa, also on
October 18, organized by the South African Institute for
International Affairs (SAIIA), Dr. Chris Alden of the London
School of Economics commented that China perceived its policies
in Africa as founded on mutual benefits rather than
exploitation. China's primary interests in Africa were
unblocked access to resources and impeded access to markets; its
philosophy was mercantilist and it adhered to ASEAN principles
of non-interference. Alden also highlighted China's concern
over the U.S. "bending" of nuclear rules for India in an attempt
to enlist it against China. Singapore's High Commissioner to
South Africa, Mr. Justice Rubin, provided an overview of trade
statistics that graphically illustrated huge increases in
African and Southeast Asian trade with China over the past two
years. He noted that Singapore could no longer compete on
low-end manufacturing but had moved to higher end products.
The High Commissioner also noted that historically China had not
engaged in colonization, and, in carefully nuanced language,
noted that there had been much speculation on China's motives,
with more questions being raised than answered. He concluded
that he saw grounds for optimism in Chinese engagement with
Africa.

4. Peru's Ambassador to South Africa, Dr. F.C. Calderon,
commented on Latin American perceptions of China as well as the
impact of the commodities boom, fueled by China's and India's
economic surge, on Latin American economies. He noted that
China now owned 90 percent of a copper deposit in Peru, one of
the 20 largest such in the world. Dr. Calderon said that five
percent of Peru's population was ethnically Chinese and that
cultural values were very close. He noted that China's appetite
for investment and the work ethic of its people allied with
their entrepreneurial culture had many benefits. However, the
textile industry provided an example of conflicting interests,
where Chinese imports had created substantial employment losses
in Peru, and had led to a limited quota system on Chinese
manufacturing. Another participant noted that a recent
Brenthurst discussion proposed China as a model of economic
development in terms of attracting foreign investment though
China's own dominance of light manufacturing made it unlikely
that other countries could use that method to climb the
development ladder. He noted that there had been no consensus
whether China's policy of non-interference would impact on good
governance or definitions thereof and whether this would assist
on peace and security and conflict resolution issues. He also
noted that China did not precondition its assistance on the
development of democracy.

5. Comment: Audience questions varied but ranged from whether
China respected and protected indigenous knowledge to the extent
of its regard for Southern African labor laws. Certain
questions, such as one on the likely impact of Chinese influence
on African business environments described as characterized by
corruption and high barriers to entry for newcomers,
demonstrated a fair amount of skepticism regarding the extent of
mutual benefit to African populations. The speakers, while

JOHANNESBU 00000302 002.2 OF 002


carefully choosing their language, noted that China's impact on
Africa would have both beneficial and detrimental aspects. End
Comment.
COFFMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results
Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

WHO: Vaccination No Guarantee Of Virus Eradication

In the final World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 press conference of the year, on Monday, senior officials warned that the virus is 'not necessarily the big one', and that there is a real chance of another, more serious pandemic spreading ... More>>

Covid: Two Billion COVID Vaccine Doses Secured, WHO Says End Of Pandemic Is In Sight

The end of the pandemic is in sight but we must not let our guard down, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as he welcomed the news that the global vaccine partnership COVAX has lined up almost two billion doses of existing ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>


UN Rights Office: Iran Execution Of Child Offender Breaks International Law

The execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial. In a statement released on Thursday, ... More>>

UN News: Fighting Displaces Over 500,000 In Northern Mozambique, Reports UN Refuge Agency

Attacks by armed groups in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia and Niassa provinces have displaced more than 530,000 people, many of whom have been forced to move multiple times, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday. According to ... More>>