FM defends mediation efforts in South Sudan

Updated: 2015-01-13 08:37

By Mo Jingxi(China Daily)

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Wang Yi rejects notion China safeguarding its oil interests in region

FM defends mediation efforts in South Sudan

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has defended China's mediation efforts in South Sudan, rejecting the notion that they were intended to safeguard its own oil interests.

The minister made the remarks at a news conference on Sunday with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti in Khartoum, capital of Sudan, according to the Foreign Ministry's website.

China has good relations with the oil industry in both Sudan and South Sudan, Wang said, pointing out that it is the people who will suffer most if the industry is affected by the chaos caused by civil war in the south.

He told reporters that China is making efforts at mediation because it is a responsible country, not trying to benefit itself alone.

"China will continue to work toward this goal as a friend of both countries."

He Wenping, a research fellow at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the heavy fighting in the young country has been a setback to its economic reconstruction and development.

"It is far more serious than the possible losses to Chinese oil companies," she said.

The large number of South Sudan refugees fleeing the civil unrest will also become a concern for neighboring countries such as Kenya, he added.

The number of refugees from South Sudan and Sudan hit 509,000 and 670,000 in the first six months of last year, a United Nations report said earlier this month.

Wang said China has played an active role in resolving disputes at Sudan's request.

He noted all endeavors were based on consensus reached by the international community, including resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

The Foreign Ministry announced in December a Chinese infantry battalion of 700 troops will soon arrive in South Sudan for a UN peacekeeping mission, the first of its kind for China.

Wang also highlighted the work of Zhong Jianhua, China's special envoy for Africa.

Zhong, previously China's ambassador to South Africa, was appointed in 2012 as special representative of the Chinese government on African affairs.

"Ambassador Zhong has frequently traveled between China and Sudan in the last few years, pushing for reconciliation between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as a resolution to the civil conflict within South Sudan," Wang said.

Wang was in Sudan for a consultation on Monday with the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development and the parties in South Sudan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday that the consultation aims to continue support for the intergovernmental authority's mediation efforts to resolve the conflict.

"China encourages the parties in conflict to resolve disputes through negotiations, and attain regional peace and stability," he said.