A recent 14-day forum in Beijing, in which China gathered senior defense and military officials from 49 African countries, has provided Beijing with an unprecedented opportunity for diplomatic and soft-power cultivation on the African continent. Beyond the opportunity to ogle China’s increasingly sophisticated military hardware, the forum focused on African security issues and the development of Africa's own security capacities, in addition to mutual cooperation. The specific agreements resulting from the forum are, in some respects, less important than the fact that it took place at all. This event helps tie together China’s broad interests in Africa and elevates its stature.
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