Blazing A Trail

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Wen Jiabao's whistle-stop tour through Africa last week marked the third visit to the continent by top Chinese leaders this year. Since January, Premier Wen, President Hu Jintao and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing have traveled to a total of 15 African countries. Why? Hu insisted during his Congo trip that "China is not seeking selfish interests" in Africa. But with the country's insatiable thirst for energy, Africa has swiftly become one of its key business partners: trade between China and Africa jumped 37% to $40 billion in 2005, and Angola was China's top provider of crude oil in the early months...