“China is a very aggressive and pernicious economic competitor with no morals. China is not in Africa for altruistic reasons. China is in Africa for China primarily.” This was the argument put forth by a confidential US State Department memo in February 2010, later published by Wikileaks.
The secret memo reinforced Western perceptions, not often publicly voiced, that the reform efforts of their development banks in poor countries are pervasively undermined by China. Rather than accept loans which require salutary political and economic reforms, developing country governments instead plump for cheap, “no strings attached” loans from China. In return, China secures a steady supply of oil and other resources to feed its energy-hungry economy back home.
But scholars of China’s international relations have long argued that the threat is vastly overblown. Now evidence from a new study of Chinese loans to Latin American countries by the Inter-American Dialogue…
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