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Chad - China Relations

Chad recognized Taiwan and cut off diplomatic relations with China in 1997. Prior to the break up, China funded a number of programs in Chad, including the construction of the new National Assembly building and the National Sports Stadium. In the late 1990s, the Government of Chad obtained a bilateral development assistance package of USD 72 million from Taiwan over a six-year period. Chad's acceptance of this financing and recognition of Taiwan prompted the severing of diplomatic and economic ties.

Taiwanese funding was used for construction of bridges, roads, and rural and urban water distribution systems; payment of teachers' salaries, and disaster-relief type grants. The Taiwanese had an agricultural and medical attache within their diplomatic mission in N'Djamena. Overseas Engineering and Construction Company, a Taiwanese firm, finalized a multi-million dollar contract with the GOC to develop a number of roads within the capital. Taiwanese firms also planned to develop hotels and restaurants in the future.

The Taiwan Ambassador was informed at 3 p.m. 05 August 2006 to inform him that Chad would resume relations with the People's Republic of China. Senegal had exerted irresistible pressure on Chad to resume times with China. The timing of Chad's resumption of diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China was exquisitely timed to create the most humiliating situation possible for Taiwan. Chad's decision was based on a desire to have relations with a powerful UN Security Council member (and one with close ties to Sudan). Since Chad sought a UN force on the border, it needed support from the UNSC. China's other "ally," Sudan, sought to prevent such a force. China is ready to support a UN resolution on an international force in Darfur, but not without Sudan's acceptance. China had been and would continue to support Chadian rebels. An understanding on ending Chinese arms transfers to Chadian rebels in Sudan was not part of the deal on recognition, since the Chinese denied involvement in these transfers.

After a nine-year hiatus, China (PRC) and Chad renewed diplomatic relations in 2006. Since reopening its embassy in N'djamena in 2006, China's engagement with Chad focused on responding to a variety of needs expressed by the Chadian government. Among the focus areas of Sino-Chadian cooperation are social services, energy, infrastructure, and military assistance. China wanted to be more involved in the extraction of oil resources and to find other ways to profit from investment opportunities in Chad.

Chinese engineering firms began construction of six roads covering ten kilometers in N'djamena to build Chad's decrepit road network. Chinese companies are investing in exploration of new oil fields (Chinese National Petroleum Corporation -- CNPC -- is undertaking seismic studies) and continues to consider a small-scale joint-venture oil refinery project with the Chadian National Oil Company. According to Esso (the ExxonMobil-led oil consortium that exports Chadian petroleum through Cameroon), talks continue with CNPC about shipping CNPC's eventual crude oil via the Chad-Cameroon pipeline that Esso operates.

China provides doctors, nurses, and medical technicians, pharmaceuticals, and equipment in the health sector. The Chinese government has sent nine doctors to work at one of the two main hospitals in N'djamena and has shipped hospital equipment, including x-ray machines, to Chadian hospitals. The Chinese government also provides scholarships to around 30 Chadians to study at Chinese universities each year. China will build three schools in N'djamena and in rural areas.

In the absence of greater transparency in terms of activities and assistance, it is difficult to ascertain exactly how the Chinese government is militarily engaging in Chad. Nonetheless, the Chinese state that the Chinese government has targeted Chadian staff military training (similar to U.S. IMET programs). The Chinese have sold weapons to the Chadians but it was unclear as to what extent or what agreements exist between the Chadian and Chinese militaries. The Chinese do not admit to having a resident defense attache in N'djamena.

China's major investment in Chad is in oil exploration and refining. In 2008 the China National Petroleum Company, operating as a 60 per cent partner in a joint venture with the Chadian National Hydrocarbon Company (40 per cent), began building a refinery north of N'Djamena. The facility was expected to produce 20,000 barrels a day once it became fully operational. The initiative aimed initially at supplying Chad's internal petroleum requirements. In 2009 new oil fields being developed with Chinese assistance showed promise of having sufficient yield that a quantity of oil is likely to be exported, perhaps through an existing Esso-Chad pipeline across Cameroon to ports on the coast. The pipeline-sharing arrangement, if it comes to fruition, will require that the Chinese-Chadian joint venture adhere to Esso's high standards of environmental protection and financial transparency.

In 2012, N'Djamena Refinery recruited more than 120 local employees to work in major production posts. Since its startup in 2011, the refinery has launched training programs on the English language, refining and chemical knowledge, management, and HSE. Local employees have mastered refining and chemical know-how with the help of Chinese employees as their personal coaches. To help cultivate future talents for the development of Chad's refining industry, the refinery reconstructed its temporary premises into a campus for the petrochemical department of a local petroleum college, and provides interim and training opportunities to students majoring in refining and chemicals. The campus includes two academic buildings, where 100 students can receive lectures at the same time. According to Mr. Makaye Hassane Taisso, Chad's Education Minister, the opening of the petrochemical department at the refinery will provide the students with a better and more practical educational environment and some of the students may start their career at this refinery.

Chinese firms were also engaged in cement production, road-paving and reconstruction of Chad's National Assembly, destroyed in rebel attacks in 2008. Cement workers are the only Chinese laborers to have been accused by local Chadians of exploitative practices and disregard for the customs of citizens dwelling near their area of operation. Although Chadians speak disparagingly of the quality of Chinese products in markets, and suspect that China is dumping consumer merchandise of too low a quality to attract current buyers in the country of origin, general attitudes toward the Chinese are relatively positive in Chad. Road workers with Chinese firms operating in N'Djamena seem to be viewed with gratitude -- not surprising given the state of Chad's transportation network. Chadians appeared eager to patronize a recently-arrived team of Chinese medical experts (some traditional and some Western-oriented) who have set up shop in a Chinese-built and run hotel in N'Djamena. Chadians turn out in force at the numerous Chinese restaurants here. President Deby uses a private room in one of N'Djamena's longest-established Chinese (actually Taiwan) restaurants to entertain state visitors.

The two sides maintained friendly exchanges. In March 2013, President Idriss Deby Itno, Prime Minister Djimrangar Dadnadji Joseph and Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and International Cooperation Moussa Faki Mahamat sent letters of congratulations to President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi respectively on their assumption of office. In May, President Deby sent a letter of condolences to President Xi Jinping over the April 20th earthquake in Lushan, Sichuan Province. In August, Prime Minister Dadnadji sent a letter of condolences to Premier Li Keqiang over the July 22nd earthquake in Gansu Province. In August, Foreign Minister Faki paid a working visit to China and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with him.

On October 15, 2015, President Xi Jinping met with President Idriss Deby of Chad at the Great Hall of the People. Xi Jinping welcomed Idriss Deby to attend the China 2015 Poverty Reduction and Development Forum. Xi Jinping pointed out that Chad is China's important cooperative partner in Africa. China attaches great importance to its relations with Chad. I am willing to work with Mr. President to continuously deepen bilateral friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and promote the comprehensive and in-depth development of China-Chad relations so as to better benefit the two peoples. China is willing to become a reliable partner for Chad to achieve industrialization and modernization.

On September 3, 2016, President Xi Jinping met in Hangzhou with rotating Chairperson of the African Union and President Idriss Deby of Chad. Xi Jinping welcomed Idriss Deby to attend the G20 Hangzhou Summit on behalf of the African Union and expressed support to Africa's positive contributions to global governance and world economic growth. Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Chad have seen all-round and rapid development of bilateral relations in recent years. China is willing to work with Chad to constantly enrich China-Chad friendly cooperative relations and better benefit both peoples. The two sides should continue to understand and support each other on issues concerning respective core interests and of major concerns. Energy cooperation should play a leading role in bilateral cooperation. The Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to expand investment in Chad to help the country step up its own capability for independent and sustainable growth. Both sides should also give full play to the assurance role of peace and security cooperation. China stands ready to help Chad with its capacity building in national defense, peacekeeping, stability maintenance and other aspects.

China seemed interested in helping Chad with basic education, girls' education, scientific education, Chinese language teaching, and medical assistance, including in infant and maternal health, malaria treatment and treatment of diarrheal diseases. The Chinese would be willing to help Chad's agricultural sector, but its problems are so numerous that they don't know where to start.

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Page last modified: 31-10-2016 18:56:51 ZULU