China and Mauritania: historic ties

Readers will be interested to know that China and Mauritania have extraordinarily strong ties. Mauritania, under the post-independence regime of Mokhtar Ould Daddah, was one of the first countries to recognize the PRC over Taiwan (19 July, 1965), leading an avalanche of African states in the same direction afterwards (this was apart of his effort to gain support for recognition of Mauritania as an independent state and not a part of Morocco).

In the 1970’s, the leaders of the modern UFP (supporters of the old government not supporting the coup) were part of party with a Maoist disposition and the party maintains a very friendly relationship with the CPC (one of its leaders, Mohamed Mustafa Ould Badreddine, is nicknamed Badr esSiin, “the Moon of China,” rather than “the Moon of Faith”). Ironically, Ould Daddah stomped on these fellows rather routinely.

As a reward for its early endorsement of the One China Policy, much, if not most, of Mauritania’s infrastructure is built and paid for by the PRC, including the Friendship Port, Nouakchott’s Olympic stadium, roads, mines, airports, and even the Presidential Palace itself. Indeed the last of the initial aid packages dished out to the Ould Daddah regime in the 1960’s ran out as recently 2002 or 2003. Mauritanian leaders, like their counterparts throughout the developing world, condemned this year’s violence in Tibet. The Mauritanians also appreciate Beijing’s willingness to overlook the problems in their domestic politics (the coups, slavery, corruption, etc.) both in bilateral relations and in international fora.

The Chinese will likely not condemn the coup (as I stated earlier) and will work as assuredly with the next government as they have all those before.


7 thoughts on “China and Mauritania: historic ties

  1. I wonder if there’s a relation between this and the Soviet Union’s initial refusal to recognize Mauritania (bowing to Arab demands for it to be incorporated as Morocco’s southern province until finally selling its stance in return for Mongolian membership). Couldn’t that have kick-started a relationship with China?

  2. It probably did. After all, Ould Daddah was looking for countries that it could use to garner support for its independence. Turning to the PRC, a country looking for similar support, makes an ideal ally in that context. It’s similar to Algeria’s preference for the PRC over Russia, partially the result of the fact that the Russians were slow to recognize the provisional government where as the Chinese do so with rapid zeal.

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