China, African Union deny report bloc’s building was bugged

Chinese and African officials yesterday denounced a report alleging Chinese construction workers bugged the African Union headquarters, suggesting it was a ploy to destabilize relations.

African Union chairman Moussa Faki told reporters in Beijing he didn’t believe China would spy on the bloc’s headquarters in Addis Ababa. The allegations are “all lies,” Faki said after meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

“No maneuvers could distract and divert us from our mission” of strengthening relations with China, said Faki, who, flanked by Wang, announced the African Union would open a new office in Beijing later this year.

The office is to receive Chinese government support, but it wasn’t clear who would fund its operations. Wang noted that the bugging allegation surfaced in Western media and said “attempts to divide China and Africa will not succeed.”

French newspaper Le Monde reported last month that China bugged the USD200 million facility it funded and built in Ethiopia’s capital in 2012. The report cited unnamed African Union officials.

China has poured investments into Africa in the past decade, including a commitment to offer $60 billion in loans and export credits made by President Xi Jinping in late 2015. AP

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