In September 2021, Alpha Conde — the octogenarian president of Guinea — was toppled by the special forces he created. It is the latest episode of political instability in the West African state with not only rich resources but also a history of military coups.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, in an unusual move, spoke against the military coup and urged the immediate release of the former president. This is a departure from Beijing’s cardinal foreign policy dictate of non-interference in other countries’ domestic affairs.
China has a big stake in the country. Guinea is China’s biggest supplier of bauxite, a key raw material for the aluminium industry. But perhaps more importantly, Guinea is home to the world’s largest untapped iron ore deposit, Simandou.