Chinese state media are lashing out at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after she warned African leaders against cooperating with nations who want to exploit the continent’s resources.
The comments of Clinton, who is on an 11-day trip across sub-Saharan Africa, were regarded by some as being directed at China, which has emerged as Africa’s main trading partner in recent years.
China’s increased activity in Africa has prompted criticisms by many in Washington who are concerned that Beijing is pursuing its economic interests at the expense of Africa’s poorer nations.
A commentary in the official Xinhua news agency Friday described Clinton’s speech – which did not specifically mention China – as “vicious,” “rude,” and a “cheap shot” at Beijing.
It said Clinton was either “ignorant of the facts on the ground or chose to disregard them,” insisting that the relationship between China and Africa is “rooted in friendship and equality.”
Trade between China and African countries reached a record $166 billion last year, as Beijing looks for resources to fuel its economic boom.
But critics say China has financially supported countries with poor human rights records, prompting concerns about labor abuses and corruption.
Beijing denies that it is pursuing a policy of “neo-colonialism” in Africa. The Xinhua commentary said it was Western countries, not China, that have “extracted the wealth of Africa for themselves.”