The US aid chief criticizes China’s “absence” in a food crisis fueled by the Russian invasion.
Nations that refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine risk accelerating a global food crisis, the head of the United States’ international aid agency said on Monday, pointing the finger at China for hoarding fertilizer and grain as millions of people in East Africa face starvation.
Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, also criticized China for giving only $3 million to the United Nations World Food Program in 2022 – compared to $2.7 billion donated by the United States – despite predictions of a “child explosion”. dead” in the Horn of Africa because of food shortages. The shortages began with a devastating drought and intensified after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Ms Power’s comments highlighted the growing anger of the United States and its allies over China’s tacit support for Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and his war to control Ukraine.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
Beyond the devastation of the battlefield that is expected to continue for months or even years, the war has severely disrupted wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine and fertilizer supplies throughout Eastern Europe. East, disrupting global food markets and raising fears of another African famine.
“Countries that were not part of this war must not be left out of this global food crisis,” Ms. Power said in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
She called on China to join more than 100 other nations in pledging humanitarian aid, exporting more food and fertilizer and sharing information on national stocks and production of agricultural products. to appease nervous markets.
This, she said, would “powerfully demonstrate the country’s desire to be a global leader and friend to the world’s less developed economies.”
Instead, Ms Power said China “is particularly notable for its absence” from relief efforts in Africa, where Beijing is engaged in development projects worth billions of dollars – sometimes with large amounts. Chinese labor instead of local workers.
The World Food Program estimates that up to 20 million people could go hungry by the end of the year in the Horn of Africa. China donated $34 million to UN food agency efforts in the region during another drought in 2017.
Ms Power, a former ambassador to the United Nations, reserved her harshest words for Mr Putin and the Russian invasion, which she called “the latest accelerator of human misery”.
“Through his actions, he is also waging a war against the world’s poor by driving up food, fertilizer and fuel prices, while taking Ukrainian grain off the market,” she said.