On June 16, 2016, President Jimmy Carter and Consul General Li Qiangmin of the Chinese Consulate in Houston met in President Carter’s office at The Carter Center to discuss recent events in U.S.-China relations and future collaboration in Africa. CG Li thanked President Carter for being the grandfather of U.S.-China Relations, and President Carter responded by saying that he hopes The Carter Center will continue to fulfill that role.
President Carter discussed with CG Li the Center’s interest in working to establish more areas of U.S.-China collaboration in Africa. In the past, U.S.-China collaboration in Africa has been limited to fighting Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone and finalizing a peace agreement in South Sudan. Both President Carter and CG Li see potential for the two countries to work together in a number of locations, but specifically mentioned Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and South Sudan as suitable areas, to name a few.
The 6th FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) held in Johannesburg last year was also discussed. 43 African leaders joined the summit and President Xi Jinping proposed 10 overarching plans for Sino-African cooperation, along with promising a $60 billion development fund to Africa. CG Li stated that the Chinese welcome European and other partners to form multi-lateral cooperation and that the U.S. and China have common goals in Africa.
China’s commitment to peace in the region was also reinforced by the recent appointment of its first special envoy to Syria, Ambassador Xie Xiaoyan. Ambassador Xie is a former ambassador to Iran, Ethiopia, and the African Union.
President Carter and CG Li also took the time to discuss areas causing tension, namely the arbitration case South China Sea and the recent election of Tsai Ing-wen as president of Taiwan.
Dr. Zhang Qianyuan from the University of Texas at Dallas also attended the meeting and gave President Carter a picture he painted of the president.
(Pictured above left to right: CG Li Qiangmin, President Carter, Dr. Zhang Qianyuan)