ADDIS, ABABA – China’s diplomatic assault on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moved to another continent Wednesday, as China’s top official at the African Union labeled him a troublemaker just after his three-country visit to Africa.
Abe visited Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Ethiopia over the last week, pledging hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and trying to shore up relations on a continent where China has made deep inroads in recent years.
Abe’s Africa trip follows his visit last month to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which China views as a memorial to war criminals who assaulted the Chinese people.
Xie Xiayoan, China’s ambassador to Ethiopia and its envoy to the African Union, said Abe’s visit to Yasakuni was offensive and he called the prime minister a “troublemaker” in Asia.
The Chinese disdain for Abe’s visit here went past the political level. On Sunday, Chinese activists brawled with Japanese Embassy security in the capital of Ethiopia, as they took pictures of the embassy and protested Abe’s visit.
Chinese activists had collected signatures from among the thousands of Chinese nationals living in Ethiopia and tried to submit them to the embassy to protest the shrine visit.