GENERAL ZHU WENQUAN VISITS CUBA: ANOTHER THREAT
by Manuel Cereijo
General Zhu Wenquan is worldwide known for his expertise in high technology weapons applied to amphibious operation. Amphibious operations are offensive in nature. The General arrived in Cuba on March 7, 2007.
China’s Role in the Horn
China has successfully maintained good relations with all five nations in the Horn of Africa. Beijing has supplied millions of dollars in aid and loans, built infrastructure projects, extended preferential trade agreements, sold military equipment, and offered political support for Horn countries at the UN and in other international fora. China has sent medical teams to the region for many years and worked hard to cultivate relations with future leaders by providing scholarships for Africans to study in China. Earlier this year Ethiopia’s Minister of Trade was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying, “China has become our most reliable partner” (March 29). For its part, China has received strong support on contentious human rights issues, unwavering adherence to the “One China Policy,” and cultivated profitable trade and investment relationships.
China has formalized its cooperation with the Horn and the rest of Africa through the China-Africa Cooperation Forum. Created in Beijing in 2000, the second ministerial meeting took place in Addis Ababa in 2003. This resulted in the Addis Ababa Action Plan and solidified China’s presence in the region. The third ministerial meeting of the Forum will take place in Beijing in 2006. The Forum provides a venue for Sino-African consultation and dialogue allowing China to extend its soft power throughout the continent. Examples of Chinese programs include a series of training sessions that are intended to develop personal ties and good will.
Trade and Investment
Through its trade promotion and investment programs, China has become one of the Horn of Africa’s most important partners. Beijing has supported economic development through low-cost loans, debt relief, and preferential tariffs. Investment projects, many of them on commercial terms, are also encouraged to extend China’s economic reach throughout the region. Sudan and Ethiopia have been the biggest beneficiaries of Chinese investment. Other than its substantial oil imports from Sudan, China imports mostly raw materials such as coffee, hides, skins, and oil seeds from countries in the Horn. China’s top exports to the region are textiles, manufactured goods, machinery, chemicals, medical products, and building materials. According to Chinese statistics, China’s trade with the region totaled over $2.8 billion in 2004. By the first six months of 2005, it had already exceeded $2 billion.
China continues to encourage military cooperation and extend arms sales to Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as to Sudan and Djibouti. Ethiopian Prime Minister Zenawi and Chinese Lieutenant General Zhu Wenquan, commander of the Nanjing Military Region, met in Addis Ababa as recently as August. According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they agreed that “Ethiopia and China shall forge mutual cooperation in military training, exchange of military technologies, and peacekeeping missions, among others.” The previous week Lieutenant General Zhu, joined by Vice Admiral Gu Wengen, met with the commander of the Eritrean Air Force, Major General Teklay Habteselassie. At that gathering, Zhu was reported by Eritrean radio to have said that it was China’s desire “for the armies of the two sisterly countries to cooperate in various training.” China’s training of Eritrean military forces is well known; years ago even Eritrea’s President Isaias Afewerki received military training in China .
Beijing has pointedly moved several top officers to the Nanjing military region near Taiwan, including Major General Zhu Wenquan, reportedly an expert on amphibious warfare. An article in the China Times noted that Zhu will play “a pivotal role in manoeuvres and other means of putting pressure on Taiwan”.
APPENDIX- GRANMA REPORT
Fraternal encuentro entre militares chinos y cubanos
La delegación de alto nivel del Ejército Popular de Liberación de China, presidida por el coronel general Zhu Wenquan, fue recibida ayer por el viceministro jefe del Estado Mayor General de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, general de cuerpo de ejército Álvaro López Miera.
Mutua voluntad para impulsar la colaboración entre las fuerzas militares que representan, aseguraron altos jefes y oficiales de ambas partes en el fraternal intercambio, realizado ayer en la sede del Ministerio de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias, cita a la que asistió además Zhao Rongxian, embajador de la República Popular China en nuestro país.
Los distinguidos visitantes, encabezados por el también comandante de la región militar estratégica de Nanjing, recorrerán hasta el día 11 varias unidades militares y centros docentes de las FAR, así como lugares de interés histórico y cultural.
The visit of General Zhu Wenquan to Cuba presents another threat from Cuba to the security of the United States