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Central African Republic - China Relations

The Chinese steadily increased their visibility and influence in the CAR, a country rich in untapped natural resources. During the Cold War, the CAR vacillated between recognizing China and Taiwan, depending on who was offering better terms, but since the early 1990s the Central Africans have recognized and increasingly favored the People's Republic. A growing Sino-Central African (CAR) relationship is becoming increasingly evident in the CAR.

This interest in oil may explain an unexpected and sudden decrease in 2009 of tension in the CAR's troubled northeastern region of the Vakaga. The Chinese may have been the driving force, through Sudanese good offices, behind a local peace deal that is report to have significantly eased tensions which previously threatened to spill over into violence. While ethnic conflict in the Vakaga may still flair up, it is clear that China is making a strong economic and political play in the CAR. It seems equally clear that Bozize's government is welcoming this relationship as an alternative to more restrictive relations with the French and the West.

In 2007, a Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs visited the CAR to explore cooperation in the forestry and petroleum sectors. In comparison to AmEmbassy Bangui, which was functioning with four resident American officers (all State) in 2009, the Chinese embassy had approximately 40 employees and is ramping up its military cooperation, public diplomacy and development efforts.

A Chinese company has purchased a significant part of the French uranium company AREVA's interest in Central African mines. Similarly, there are repeated rumors of their interest in the iron discovery on the Canadian company AXMIN's concession north of Bambari. This might even include construction of a railroad.

Approximately 40 CAR military officers go to China for training each year; a number which dwarfs the two or three IMET students sent to the United States and the 10 to 15 sent to training by the French. And, perhaps more to the point, this training is unlikely to include an annoying (from the CARG point of view) human rights element.

With French investments moribund and French influence in general decline, the Chinese are likely positioning themselves as the CAR's primary benefactor in exchange for access to the CAR's ample deposits of uranium, gold, iron, diamonds, and possibly oil. Although Chinese aid and investment is unlikely to come with troublesome caveats regarding democratic practices and economic transparency, they are apparently interested in promoting the pacification of troubled areas in northern CAR in order to protect their own interests and personnel. The full extent of Chinese involvement in the CAR was subject to some conjecture.

In 2013, an unconstitutional change of regime took place in the Central African Republic and volatile situation persisted. With the efforts of the international community, the Central African Republic adopted an interim constitution and set up a transitional committee and coalition government. The country entered a political transitional period. Due to deteriorating security situation in the country, bilateral exchanges and relevant cooperation programs between China and the Central African Republic were temporarily suspended.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on 06 September 2018 met with Central African Republic President Faustin Archange Touadera after the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was a "great success," and the eight major initiatives unveiled at the summit will help Africa develop, Central African Republic (CAR) President Faustin-Archange Touadera told Xinhua 26 September 2018. The summit "was a real success overall and also bilaterally for the CAR," said Touadera. "We also appreciate the eight initiatives proposed by the Chinese leader. It is one of the most important commitments and decisions of the summit ... which will help African countries to develop."

Touadera, who has been advocating national reconciliation since taking office, said cooperation in police training with experts from China's Fujian Police College is part of the peace and security initiative. "We are looking for stability, and the search for stability requires the training of our internal security forces," said Touadera, adding that in terms of security, "we expect to have exchanges with China and the support of China."

Three Chinese nationals were killed in the southwestern Central African Republic (CAR), the Chinese Embassy in the CAR confirmed 06 October 2018. A boat carrying four Chinese and a local young man capsized Thursday in the town of Sosso-Nakombo, causing the disappearance of the Central African. The surviving Chinese then went to a gendarmerie brigade to report the incident. At this moment, bandits, who were informed of the disappearance of their compatriot, came to attack the Chinese, killing three of them and seriously wounding the fourth one. The gendarmerie brigade was also attacked and ransacked.

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Page last modified: 03-02-2019 19:02:39 ZULU