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Iran Press TV

US plans to counter China, Russia influence in Africa: Bolton

Iran Press TV

Fri Dec 14, 2018 07:16AM

US National Security Adviser John Bolton says the United States plans to counter the rapidly expanding political and economic influence of China and Russia in Africa.

Beijing and Moscow were using "corrupt" and "predatory" practices to gain an economic advantage over the US on the continent, Bolton said in a speech on Thursday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

"Great-power competitors, namely China and Russia, are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across Africa," Bolton said.

"They are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States," he added.

The former US ambassador to the UN, who is known as a war hawk, said "predatory practices" by China and Russia stunt economic growth in Africa and threaten the continent's economic independence.

A deterioration in US-China relations, seen most dramatically in their escalating trade dispute, is spilling over into other areas.

Beijing's growing trade and military ties with Africa has concerned Washington. China overtook the US in 2010 as the continent's largest trading partner.

In October, US President Donald Trump signed legislation overhauling the way the federal government lends money for foreign development, creating a $60 billion agency intended largely to respond to China's growing influence.

Chinese President Xi Jinping "Belt and Road" initiative, unveiled in 2013, aims to build an infrastructure network connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

China has already provided many countries in Asia and Africa with billions of dollars in aid and loans for roads, railways, ports and other major infrastructure projects.

Bolton had equally harsh words for Russia. "Across the continent, Russia advances its political and economic relationships with little regard for the rule of law or accountable and transparent governance," he said.

He accused Moscow of selling arms and energy to African nations in exchange for their votes at the United Nations.

Bolton's comments come as the US military has in recent years expanded its forces across the continent, where it reportedly has over 6,000 troops stationed.

Washington runs 34 military bases across Africa, contrary to the Pentagon's insistence that it maintains a modest presence across the continent.

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