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US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin Roman Koksarov/AP

US defence chief warns African leaders China and Russia are 'destabilising' continent

Today marks the start of a three-day US-Africa summit.

THE US DEFENCE secretary has warned African leaders at a summit held today that China and Russia risked “destabilising” the continent with their rising involvement.

“The combination of those activities by those two countries, I think that bears watching. And certainly, I think their influence can be destabilizing,” Lloyd Austin told a panel with several presidents at the start of a three-day US-Africa summit.

Austin said that Russia is “continuing to peddle cheap weapons” and deploying “mercenaries across the continent.”

This was having a “destabilising” effect, Austin said.

He added that China was raising its footprint in Africa “on a daily basis” through its growing economic influence.

“The troubling piece there is they’re not always transparent in terms of what they’re doing and that creates problems that will be eventually destabilizing if they’re not already,” Austin said.

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