Africa Monitor

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Sao Tome and Principe: New Ambassador and Greatest Ascendant by China

The Government of JORGE BOM JESUS (MLSTP / PSD) appointed PAULO JORGE do ESPÍRITO SANTO (PES) as Deputy Secretary-General for the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation Between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries ("Macau Forum") on behalf of the Portuguese-speaking countries. Former minister and previously placed in the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs ELSA PINTO, PES replaced RODRIGO BRUM (RB), a Portuguese national who had held the position for the past 3 years.
The remaining management positions at Forum Macau are appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Trade (MOFCOM) of RP China, which in practice controls the organization. Forum Macau's work has been practically paralyzed since the beginning of 2020, due to the pandemic. Previous expectations that the organization would enter a more dynamic phase were not confirmed (AM Special Report 24).
Named PR China ambassador in São Tomé and Príncipe after leaving the post of secretary general of the Macau Forum in AUG., XU YINGZHEN (XY) presented in DEC. the credentials as China´s new ambassador in São Tomé, to PR EVARISTO de CARVALHO. The ceremony featured military honors, normally reserved only for members of visiting foreign governments.
MOFCOM staff - and not of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as her predecessor and as is customary at the top of Chinese diplomatic missions - XY was, in previous functions at the Macau Forum, linked to the entry of São Tomé and Príncipe into the body, and visited the country several times, most recently in 2019, during the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Business Meeting.
Also unusual for the appointment is the fact that she is a woman and relatively young, with the post of head of Chinese embassies usually reserved for men. XY has gone through Chinese diplomatic missions in Latin America - speaks Spanish fluently and has only recently been perfecting Portuguese - and is recognized as a skilled staff, with a cordial and conciliatory stance. READ MORE