Congo: China Moves In

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

February 27, 2008: MONUC (UN Mission in the Congo) has found more evidence of massacres in North Kivu, allegedly perpetrated in January by the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The CNDP is rogue general Laurent Nkunda's militia force. Most of the CNDP fighters are Congolese Tutsis. The massacres definitely occurred (there are bodies). At least 30 Hutu tribespeople were killed. The investigation could lead Nkunda to completely reject the January Goma ceasefire agreement (Engagement Act). As it is, Nkunda has already "suspended participation" in the ceasefire process because of the investigation.

February 21, 2008: The UN has established 30 "peacekeeping bases" (monitoring camps) in North Kivu province. The camps are the key components of a buffer zone designed to separate warring militia factions. The camps were set up as part of the January 2008 Goma ceasefire agreement. The latest UN reports, however, are not too promising. Small-scale clashes between Laurent Nkunda's CNDP and various other militia forces (including Mai-Mai) are occurring on a daily basis.

February 20, 2008: In Fall 2007 China reached a major government to government deal with the Congo. China has agreed to finance the building of transportation infrastructure in Congo. China will also help construct an electrical grid and build electrical generating capacity. Improving water supplies is also part of the arrangement. The financing, however, is "resource-backed." The Congo's copper and cobalt reserves are the resources "backing" the financing. Several developmental aid experts have said the China-Congo deal could benefit Congo. The deal, however, is just now drawing the careful scrutiny of the Congolese. The "C" word is being invoked? Congo? China? No, Colonialism. That may not be quite fair. Congo desperately needs infrastructure. Trading natural resources for roads and clean water would be a better deal for the Congolese than Belgian colonialism.

 

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