Unlike the African Union-European Union summit in November 2017, the Polisario will not be attending the China-Africa summit. The latter will be held Monday in Beijing and will be attended by a number of African leaders.
Beijing will host, on September the 3rd and 4th, the 3rd edition of the China-Africa summit. Morocco is one of the African countries invited by China to take part in this international meeting. Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani is expected to lead the Moroccan delegation that will attend the summit.
The Chinese authorities have invited 53 member states of the African Union. The Polisario, however, was not part of the list as China does not recognize the «Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic». Swaziland was also not invited to the event as it doesn’t maintain diplomatic relations with the Asian country.
Contrary to what happened in November 2017 with the African Union-European Union summit, when Algeria and South Africa put pressured on the continental organization to ensure the presence of the Front’s leader Brahim Ghali, this time the two nations complied with China’s rules.
In 2015, when Morocco was not a member of the African Union, Beijing forced South Africa, which hosted at the time the second edition of the China-Africa summit in Johannesburg, to dismiss the Front.
China abstains at the UN Security Council
However, not inviting the Polisario to the summit does not mean that China fully supports the position of Morocco on the Western Sahara issue. This can be confirmed by what happened on April the 29th at the United Nations Security Council, when voting for resolution 2414. China took everyone by surprise, by siding with Ethiopia and Russia and abstaining.
Moreover, in November 2017, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, signed a memorandum of understanding on the Kingdom’s accession to the «Best and Road» initiative, launched officially in May of the same year with the presence of 29 heads of state.
To avoid offending the Chinese, the kingdom does not maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan and has always defended Beijing’s sovereignty over the island.