Sunday, April 03, 2005

Expanding into Africa, China Seeks Trade, Status

The Chinese government had a different reaction. Beijing saw the war - and the reduced U.S. presence - as an opportunity to expand its influence. It dispatched even more diplomats, engineers, executives and teachers to Ethiopia. New aid grants soon rolled in, followed by bank credits for Chinese companies operating there.

Today, China's influence in Ethiopia is overwhelming. Its embassy is among the largest in the country and hosts more high-level visits than any Western mission. Chinese companies have become a dominant force, building highways and bridges, power stations, mobile-phone networks, schools and pharmaceutical plants. More recently, they have begun exploring for oil and building at least one Ethiopian military installation.

It is all part of Beijing's broad push into Africa. Aiming to secure access to the continent's vast natural resources, China is forging deep economic, political and military ties with most of Africa's 54 countries.


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