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Why Would Uganda Write a Letter to Support China’s Position in Hong Kong?

ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP

The Ugandan government last week seemingly felt it necessary, very likely at the strong urging of the Chinese government, to draft a letter that reaffirms Beijing’s sovereignty over Hong Kong and the importance of the one country, two systems policy in response to the past four months of anti-Chinese protests and civil unrest in the territory.

For Uganda and most African governments, if not all, supporting Beijing with its so-called “red line issues” like Xinjiang, HK, Taiwan, Tibet, etc… are easy no-cost ways to build support with Beijing without compromising their own country’s core national interests.

So, when Beijing comes to the foreign ministry in Kampala and asks them to write a letter in support of China’s position on Hong Kong, my guess is that it was a no-brainer for the Ugandans who likely said “sure, why not? It has nothing to do with us.

And it’s plainly evident, as The Daily Nation’s Senior Diplomatic Affairs Writer Aggrey Mutambo points out, that the Ugandan foreign ministry clearly isn’t investing much in this effort to support the Chinese:

This is why, in part, the U.S. has been so unsuccessful in recruiting African states to join their coalition to rally against China on issues like Huawei, Xinjiang and now Hong Kong. After all, not a single African state-supported Washington’s effort to condemn China at the United Nations of the internment of more than 1 million Muslim Uighurs nor has any African country heeded the Trump administration’s warnings about doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The risks for African countries to align themselves with the U.S. on these contentious Chinese issues are simply too high and would potentially jeopardize billions of dollars in loans and investment.

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