After participating for months in talks between wealthy nations (aimed at establishing a global partnership on aid effectiveness), China recently withdrew from the negotiations, saying it is not ready for such a deal.
China’s decision came on the eve of a major summit in South Korea, attended by 2,500 delegates, including Hilary Clinton, Ban Ki-moon, and the UK’s Andrew Mitchell, where an agreement was expected to be rubberstamped.
Despite widespread optimism that China would sign up to a deal on aid, it was never in its interests to do so. And China’s own interests always come first.
Western aid is about reducing poverty, encouraging local development, and pushing recipient governments towards introducing basic human and democratic rights.
In recent years, China has extended its influence right across the African continent, buying rights to oil, minerals and arable land. The less inclined a regime is towards the goals of Western aid, the easier it is for China to negotiate the sale of valuable assets.
It was never going to acquiesce with the West on aid.
It’s hardly as though China is noted for respecting the rights of even its own citizens.
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