The People’s Republic of China has issued a formal statement expressing its deep concern regarding the recent military coup attempt in Gabon. In a press release issued today, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called upon “the parties involved” within Gabon to prioritize the safety and security of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, amidst the unfolding political turmoil.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who was affectionately referred to as a “long-standing friend of China” by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Beijing in April earlier this year, has nurtured a strong diplomatic relationship between Libreville and Beijing. The Chinese state media has characterized these relations as being “unshakeable,” recently elevated to the status of a “comprehensive strategic partnership.” This underscores the significance of Gabon in the eyes of Chinese authorities as a vital ally within Central Africa.
The spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “We call upon all parties involved in Gabon to seek resolution through dialogue, swiftly restore normalcy, and ensure the personal safety of President Ali Bongo Ondimba.” The unfolding events saw military forces announcing the annulment of election results and the dissolution of key institutions earlier today.
Beyond concerns for President Ali Bongo’s safety, there is also a heightened sense of worry regarding the safety of Chinese nationals residing in Gabon, contributing across various sectors. With a decade-long track record as Gabon’s principal trading partner, China’s economic interests are deeply intertwined with the country, particularly through substantial investments in the timber industry.
In light of the current situation, the Chinese Embassy in Gabon has taken decisive measures by activating its emergency response mechanism designed for instances of significant upheaval. Ambassador Li Jinjin conveyed this in an address broadcast on China Central Television, stating, “The embassy urges all Chinese citizens in Gabon to remain indoors and, in case of emergencies, to promptly contact the embassy for assistance.”
The events unfolding in Gabon resonate as a test of the enduring ties between China and the African continent, particularly in the Central African region. As diplomatic efforts continue to unfold, the global community watches closely to see how this situation will evolve and what measures will be taken to restore stability and uphold democratic values.