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Why Wang Yi’s Boring, Uneventful Tour of Africa Was So Important

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) made an unexpected stopover to Kenya on his most recent African tour. Before boarding the Chinese financed and built Standard Gauge Railway in Nairobi, Wang met with local Chinese and Kenyan SGR employees. Photo via Zhao Lijian.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on his way back home today after wrapping a busy weekend visiting three African countries to wrap up his latest African tour. He also made an unscheduled stop in Nairobi.

For all intents and purposes, this was a low key, uneventful tour. There were no major announcements and the visit barely if at all, was covered by the international media. But maybe that’s exactly why it was so important. These high-level Chinese visits have become rather routine over the years precisely because they happen so often. Every year since 1991, the foreign minister makes his first overseas trip of the new year to Africa and then over the course of the year, one after another, senior Chinese officials from the president himself to various ministers to provincial governors all invariably have Africa on their annual travel agenda.

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