Plunge Pontificates

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

China vs. Japan in Africa...

China is winning.

Japan has been there giving aid, hoping to drum up support for their bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. China is there giving aid trying to show itself as the model for under developed nations to follow.Not only are they bringing economic aid, they are bringing military aid, something many of those nations are welcoming with open arms.

In fact, even as Koizumi arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao had just left.

Hu's three-nation tour of the continent was his second there so far.

In Nigeria, Hu unveiled a plan to invest $4 billion in, among other things, railways and oil refinery facilities, receiving preferential oil development rights in return. In Morocco and Kenya, Hu proposed to help their manufacturing industries and promised that Chinese companies would build factories there.

Beijing's involvement in the continent extends to military aid as well: both to Sudan, which is currently in the midst of an internal struggle over Darfur, and to Zimbabwe, a country that has come under fire from Washington for tyranny.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the visiting Chinese president that China would lead the world in this century, and that Nigeria wanted to be right behind.

Nigeria was one of the nations that Tokyo was counting on in last year's bid for the permanent UNSC seat.

China's aid strategy is in sharp contrast to how Koizumi describes Japan's. Japanese aid, he said, should be something "that will be appreciated even if Japan does not spend too much money," such as developing subterranean water resources.

But African nations, which continue to suffer from sluggish economies, see China as a guide for their own economic development.

One political scientist in Kenya said that China will increase its influence in the region because it does not try to shape political systems, and only lends support to top African leaders.
Come on Japan! What are you doing? You seem to be going about this half-assed allowing China to clean your clock. The last thing we need is China's continued expansion around the world. Japan seems to be one of the few nations that has a reason to be in Africa as well as the ability to thwart China's aggressive policies in that part of the world. Time to pony up and open up that check book. I'll even ignore your trying to buy your way on to the Security Council for a bit.