BEIJING – Following talks between China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi and Kenya Foreign Affairs CS Musalia Mudavadi, Beijing and Nairobi agreed to unite in opposing interference in domestic affairs of other states under the banner of ‘Democracy and Human Rights’.
In the joint statement signed on January 25, the two ministers discussed bilateral and global issues, key among them the need for an equal and orderly multipolar world, reform of the international financial architecture, UN Security Council reforms and resolution of peace and security challenges across the world.
“Both sides unanimously agree to uphold the universal values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, and oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries under the banner of “democracy and human rights,” the joint statement said.
The statement seemed to target the United States, which uses democracy and human rights as its foreign policy currency.
China has, especially in the lead up to the Taiwan elections and afterwards, and ahead of Tuesday’s human rights record review at the UN Human Rights Council, opposed interference in its domestic affairs by the United States.
The US supports Taiwan, a territory China considers hers, and has accused Beijing of human rights violations of Xinjiang Uighurs and restrictions in Hong Kong. China denies.
When the US sent congratulatory message to Taiwan elections winner Lai Ching-te, Beijing said Washington was sending “a gravely wrong signal” to those pushing for Taiwan’s independence after the election result.
Blinken said: “We congratulate Dr Lai Ching-te on his victory in Taiwan’s presidential election. We also congratulate the Taiwan people for participating in free and fair elections and demonstrating the strength of their democratic system.”
Beijing called the message a violation of Washington’s commitment to maintain only unofficial ties with Taiwan.
China accuses Lai and his Democratic Progressive Party of being dangerous separatists, but DPP says it favours the status quo of the island being self-governed.
The party’s win has been seen as a setback for Beijing push to reunification, which it says is inevitable.
Mudavadi said there is need for respect of territorial and sovereignty of nations.
“Kenya affirmed that there is but one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, the government of People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and the one-China principle is a universally recognized basic norm governing international relations and a prevailing international consensus,” the joint statement said.
This was the third time Kenya was publicly reiterating the one-China principle under the current administration.
Mudavadi had in a meeting with China Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian on January 15 – ahead of his official visit – restated Kenya’s position on the matter, “and the need to respect territorial integrity and non-interference in domestic affairs of China”.
This was just after the elections in Taiwan.
Again, during President William Ruto’s visit in October, he said Kenya remains committed to one-China policy.
“Kenya is firmly committed to the one-China policy, supports China’s rightful position on human rights and other issues, and hopes to learn from China’s successful experience in development,” China Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a dispatch after Ruto’s talks with President Xi Jinping.
The apparent dig at the US places Ruto’s administration at a Catch-22, as it seeks to please China in its recent rapprochement after an initial “Look West” stance, without upsetting Washington.
President Ruto skipped the Russia-Africa Summit and the BRICS conference in South Africa, moves viewed as perpetuation of the Look West orientation.