Beijing went on the defensive Thursday ahead of a summit of more than 40 African leaders in China's capital, saying its dealings with the continent were "for the well being of the peoples of both sides". The remarks, made by Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, came as Human Rights Watch criticized China's ties with African states accused of human rights abuses. The New York-based organization said Beijing should use its rising clout to push for progress in countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe. However, Liu countered: "Our principle when handling our relations with other countries is to never try to impose our social system, development model, values or ideology upon other countries." The Wall Street Journal reported that China National Petroleum Group is examining several pipeline projects in northern and western Africa.