Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Senegal as part of a four-nation African tour to develop stronger economic and military ties with the African nations.
Xi landed in Dakar on Saturday ahead of a summit of the BRICS emerging economies in South Africa. The summit comes amid the US trade war with China and tough trade talks with other key partners.
He will also visit Rwanda and the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius to further cement China’s role as one of Africa’s closest economic, diplomatic and military allies.
China, Africa’s largest trading partner, opened its first military base on the continent, in Djibouti, last year.
Beijing, which has surpassed the US in arms sales to Africa in recent years, hosted the first ever China-Africa Defense and Security Forum earlier this month.
Another forum, known as China-Africa Cooperation, will also bring together dozens of African heads of state in Beijing in September.
China overtook the US almost a decade ago by turning to Africa's largest trading partner. According to official statistics, their bilateral trade reached a record-high of $220 billion in 2014.
BRICS Summit to address US tariffs
Xi will attend the CRICS Summit in the South African capital, Johannesburg, from July 25 to 27. Russian President Vladimir Putin will also attend the summit.
The emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China & South Africa will be addressing a trade war launched by US President Donald Trump against Beijing.
The US president has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars of imports from China, accusing Beijing of intellectual property theft, obstructing US businesses, and being responsible for America’s 375-billion-dollar trade deficit with China.
China, which has also imposed its retaliatory tariffs on US goods, blasted American unilateralism and filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Washington’s moves.