BEIJING, April 20 (IPS) - Winding up his visit to China last week, Nigerian
president Olusegun Obasanjo, the leader of Africa's most populous nation,
described China's rise as a ''beacon for global development''. It is a mantra
Beijing is most willing to put on display as Chinese President Hu Jintao arrives
in Indonesia this weekend to attend the 50th anniversary of the Bandung
President Hu's trip is expected to reinforce
perceptions of China as a leader of the Third World - a non-western and
non-colonial emerging superpower eager to expand its scope of geopolitical
influence by generous packages of aid, ample economic contracts and a
long-standing commitment to diplomatic neutrality.
achievements China has gained on its road to peace and development over the past
half-century all the more represent a successful practice of the Bandung
spirit,'' said an editorial in the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the
Chinese Communist Party.
China was among the 29 countries from the
Asian-African world that attended the conference held in Bandung, Indonesia on
May 18, 1955. The conference, organized without the participation of countries
from the industrialized West, marked the first move by developing countries to
form an alliance and assert their political presence.
led by its then premier Zhou Enlai, threw its support behind African and Asian
independence movements, as a way to counter U.S. and Soviet influences in the
''Premier Zhou Enlai helped dispel doubts, defuse puzzles
and quiet down disputes with his charisma of personality, political wisdom and
an attitude of equality,'' said the People's Daily. "The illustrious
manifestations of the Chinese delegation at the Bandung conference can be
regarded as a monumental work in New China's diplomatic history."
credits the "Bandung spirit" for the explosion of trade and cooperation between
China and Asian and African countries. In 2004, trade between China and other
Asian and African countries amounted to about US$400 billion - about one-third
of China's total foreign trade, according to State Councillor Tang
While Beijing continues to stress the need for developing
nations to band together against the industrialized West, these days China's
initiatives are propelled not by ideology but by efforts to secure natural
resources and political influence.
In Africa and Asia, as in many other
parts of the developing world, China is redrawing its geopolitical alliances in
ways that can serve its rise as a global superpower.
Having crossed the
threshold of being an aid recipient to becoming a donor nation, China is
expanding its own aid budget to buy influence in Africa and other developing
China is now by far the largest donor to Pakistan, providing up
to nine billion dollars in various forms of aid over the last two years.
In a reflection of Beijing's rising global profile, China has also
deployed peacekeepers to war-torn Liberia, and pledged to cancel debts of 1.3
billion dollars owed by 31 African countries.
At the golden jubilee of
the Bandung conference on April 24, Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to
reassert China's credentials as the vanguard of the developing world. As the
only Asian nation and the only developing country with a permanent seat and veto
power at the United Nations Security Council, China now faces a delicate
situation as the UN pushes for an expansion of the council's permanent
India and Japan are among the four primary candidates to join a
future-revamped council, but China has made it clear that it is not in favor of
hasty reforms and doesn't support an imminent expansion.