Antony Blinken probably did not expect that an informal Q&A with alumni of the U.S.-government sponsored Young Africa Leaders Initiative would spark yet another international spat with China. On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian was asked to comment on the Secretary’s critical remarks about Chinese lending and labor practices in Africa.
Zhao, one of China’s original “Wolf Warriors” and among the country’s most vocal critics of the U.S, apparently did not fully understand what the Secretary was trying to say. Bliken clearly stated that “we’re not asking anyone to choose between the United States and China,” but somehow Zhao interpreted that as “if the U.S. is asking countries to pick sides…” Clearly, something was lost in translation.
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