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US, eyeing Xi tour, touts 'positive agenda' for Africa

Published on Mar 26, 2013 6:31 AM
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete (right) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (left) arrive on March 25, 2013 to pay their respect by the monument to the Chinese workers who died building the Tanzania - Zambia Railway line (TAZARA) in the early 1970's. Mr Xi is on a three-nation Africa tour. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Monday said it had a "positive agenda" for Africa to help lift its nations out of poverty as Washington watched a trip to the continent by new Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

In a keynote speech on Monday, Xi addressed leaders in Tanzania as "my dear friends" and spoke of Beijing's "sincere friendship" with Africa, saying its trade with China reached US$200 billion (S$248.7 billion) in 2012.

China plans to "intensify, not weaken" its relationship with the continent, Mr Xi said, noting a commitment to provide a US$20 billion credit line to African nations over the next two years.

Asked whether Washington saw itself in competition with Beijing for ties in Africa, State Department acting deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell said "our relationship is not necessarily defined by competition alone." "We may have divergent interests in various spheres in Africa, but we continue to promote our positive agenda," he told reporters.

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