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China’s Escalating Conflict With the U.S. Prompts Re-Think on Foreign Aid Policy

Until now, international development assistance has not been a central theme of the increasingly bitter feud between the United States and China, but it could now be emerging as a new front in this conflict. “China and the U.S. are competing in many different areas, with foreign aid emerging increasingly as a new focus of their contest,” said Sun Jingying, a researcher at the National Institute for Global Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, in a column published on Monday in the state-run China Daily newspaper.

Sun Jingying Recommends Three Adjustments to China’s Foreign Aid Agenda in Africa:

  • AVOID OVERLAPPING WITH THE U.S. & UK: “[China] should choose proper recipient regions. The areas of China’s foreign aid highly overlap with that of developed countries such as the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Under the new situation, the US is attaching growing importance to Africa while the UK pays more attention to Asia, which should prompt China to reconsider its choices of recipient countries and assistance fields.”
  • ASSUME LEADERSHIP IN GLOBAL HEALTH GOVERNANCE: “In the short term, cooperation to curb the transmission of the virus and in healthcare will become a focal point of foreign aid. The withdrawal of the US from the World Health Organization poses a serious threat to multilateral cooperation to combat the virus, sending the global aid governance system into chaos.”
  • DEBT RELIEF:  “Due to the impact of the pandemic, developing countries, especially those in Africa, are under increasing strain of debt service, with some facing a liquidity crisis… We should bear in mind that the meaning of solving the debt problem is not limited to debt relief itself, instead, it is meant to boost the economy and trade and increase the incomes of affected nations. To this end, China should explore new approaches in its cooperation with African nations.”

Read Sun Yingjing’s column on the China Daily website.

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