Obstacles face China’s president on 2nd trip to Africa – Tim Johnson

The Mercury News reports on Hu Jintao’s visit to Africa, his second in nine months:

Hu’s first stop is Cameroon, then he heads to Liberia, , Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and the Seychelles before returning to China 12 days later.

Driven by its resource-hungry economy and seeking greater global clout, China is courting African nations with loans, swiftly growing trade and offers of political support. Autocratic countries that the West considers pariahs, namely Sudan and , have leapt at the offers.

China pledged Monday to cancel the debts – worth an undisclosed amount – of 33 poor African countries, and said it would make $3 billion in loans during Hu’s trip.

“The preferential loans provided by China carry no political conditions,” the Ministry of Commerce said on its Web site. [Full text]

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