Chairperson of the AU Commission to visit China despite spy allegation
London, Feb. 5, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat will pay an official visit to China from Feb. 7 to 9, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang announced Monday in Beijing.
Moussa Faki Mahamat’s visit is at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the spokesperson said.
It will be Moussa Faki Mahamat’s first visit to China since he assumed office. During his visit, Moussa Faki Mahamat will co-host the 7th China-AU strategic dialogue with the Chinese FM, and both sides will exchange views on international and regional issues of common concern, Geng said at a daily press briefing.
Geng hailed the African Union as one of the most influential and representative intergovernmental organizations in Africa.
“China has always developed the relations with the African Union from a strategic height and long-term perspective,” Geng said, expressing hope that this visit will further enhance political mutual trust, deepen China-AU cooperation in various fields, and promote greater development of China-AU ties.
The visit of AU Commission’s Chairperson to china is coming amid recent and unpleasant report of spying activites of china at the Commission’s head office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
A french newspaper, Le Monde had published an article claiming data from the Chinese-built AU building was being copied to Shanghai.
The article said the discovery resulted in all the AU servers being switched.
Le Monde spoke to a number of anonymous sources, who claimed the alleged transfer was taking place late at night [link in French], and was only spotted in January 2017 due to the spike in activity between midnight and 02:00, despite no-one being in the building.
It was suggested the alleged data transfer had been taking place since 2012, when the building, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, was opened.
According to the paper, AU officials brought in security experts from Algeria to sweep the entire headquarters for potential bugs, leading to the discovery of microphones in desks.
China has dismissed report as “preposterous”.
Kuang Weilin, the Chinese ambassador to the AU, told reporters in Ethiopia the “absurd” claim in France’s Le Monde was “very difficult to understand”.
Mr Kuang – who hailed the headquarters as a “monument” to his country’s relationship with the continent – said it was entirely untrue.
“I really question its intention,” he told reporters on Monday. “I think it will undermine and send a very negative message to people. I think it is not good for the image of the newspaper itself.
“Certainly, it will create problems for China-Africa relations.”