The Sound of Silence
China is playing a spoiler role not only in Sudan, but now in Kenya as well. In the midst of the country’s post-election turmoil, Beijing has steadfastly refused to put any pressure on the warring parties, despite (or perhaps because of) its “large and growing economic stake.” Numerous countries have already sent envoys, as have the AU and the UN — China’s absence from the process, then, is striking. Like in Sudan, the failure of Beijing to play a more active role could be the crutch on which the corrupt parties rely. Via The Economist:
With China to fall back on, Mr Kibaki may feel better able to cling on to power and withstand any Western threats to impose sanctions or suspend aid. According to the IMF, China’s trade with Kenya was $706m in 2006, a startling 36% up on the year before. Kenya’s trade with America, its largest Western partner, was $919m, but down on the previous year; with Britain it was $864m. The Chinese have invested in mining and offshore oil exploration, plus some big infrastructure projects, such as new bypasses around Nairobi.
China, of course, cannot solely be blamed for the international community’s failure to wage a peace agreement in Kenya (or end the genocide in Darfur, for that matter). While Beijing is certainly playing an unhelpful part, the United States and other world powers are also to blame for their impotent actions.