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International relations

China verges on luring all of Africa away from Taiwan

Beijing uses economic leverage to cultivate allies against American pressure

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with Swaziland's King Mswati III in 2015. The monarchy is now Taiwan's last formal diplomatic partner in Africa.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with Swaziland's King Mswati III in 2015. The country now known as eSwatini has become Taiwan's last formal diplomatic partner in Africa.   © Reuters

BEIJING/TAIPEI -- China's diplomatic offensive to flip the final African countries holding formal ties with Taiwan over to the mainland's side is nearly complete, as the Asian power wields economic might to expand its influence on the continent amid trade and security pressure from the U.S.

The Chinese government sees special significance in a Beijing summit with African leaders set for September alongside the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. If China can bring the last holdout, Swaziland -- recently renamed eSwatini -- into its corner, it will go into the meeting having diplomatically conquered the continent, so to speak.

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