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China-South Sudan Bilateral Relations At a Brink of Collapse

Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun Meets with Special Envoy of President of the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan and Former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning David Deng Athorbei. The two sides exchanged views on the relations between China and Southern Sudan and Sudan's North-South peace process
Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun Meets with Special Envoy of President of the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan and current Minister of Finance and Economic Planning David Deng Athorbei. The two sides exchanged views on the relations between China and Southern Sudan and Sudan’s North-South peace process…

June 7, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— Following a high level meeting between South Sudan Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. David Deng Athorbei, and the Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan, H.E. Ma Qiang on May 17 2016, the Chinese government is now calling for a quick apology for what ensued between the delegates.

According to a confidential letter extended to Nyamilepedia, the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan has filed their grievances at South Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, under Hon. Deng Alor, a former political detainee.

In the letter entitled “Note 2016046” and signed by the Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Ma Qiang, China is “badly disappointed” by the remarks of Hon. Deng Athorbei, the Minister of Finance, who spoke on behalf of South Sudan Government of National Unity.

“H.E. Ma Qiang, the Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan had a meeting with Hon. David Deng Athorbei, Minister of Finance and Planning on May 17, 2016. H.E. Ambassador Ma was intended to discuss with the Hon. Finance Minister on how to further cement the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and South Sudan. Unfortunately, the negative attitude and unfriendly words of the Finance Minister regarding China-South Sudan friendship badly dissappointed the Chinese side” read the introduction of a two-paged letter.

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The Chinese embassy in South Sudan regrets that the Minister accused and defied Chinese government and its good will to help the vulnerable South Sudanese people at their difficult time in history.

Narrated by the Embassy, Hon. Deng Athorbei has accused the Chinese government of stealing South Sudanese oil and resources without doing anything for the suffering South Sudanese people.

In response Ambassador Ma tried to explain how hard the Chinese government has worked to contribute to South Sudan economy in term of financial support, building infrastructure and even sending their own troops to defend South Sudan oil fields in the last two years.

“Since the independence of South Sudan, China has been working very closely with South Sudan to support the development of state building and improvement of livelihood of the young nation” the Ma partly explain.

“The bilateral friendship had successfully withstood the test of the civil conflict of South Sudan, which broke out in 2013. The contribution of China in the peace process, in the humanitarian assistance, and in the continuation of oil production in particular, has won great appreciation of the South Sudanese government and people” The Ambassador continued.

The Chinese government has deployed over 700 troops and engineers in South Sudan oil fields in Upper Nile. 400 of the workers were promptly evacuated in April 2015 when the main oil fields almost felt to a disgruntled rebel faction.

While appreciating President Salva Kiir for his positive acknowledgement, the Chinese Embassy are calling on the Minister to withdraw his negative remarks.

“China has been taking our oil but doing nothing to help South Sudan…That statement is entirely contrary to that of H.E. president Salva Kiir Mayardit. It arbitrarily denied the generous Chinese support to South Sudan and the strong Compliment of China to further enhancing assistance to South Sudan” Ma said.

The Embassy reminds the South Sudanese Minister that “China was the only partner that remained to ensure the production of oil during the conflict”

The Chinese government strongly reiterates that South Sudan oil operations follows international practice of transparent open bidding, a response to Minister’s claiming of Chinese stealing their oil.

“It is also in lack of the fundamental knowledge that the oil operation in South Sudan is in the nature of transnational joint ventures and the oil transaction follows the international practice of transparent open bidding”.

This is not the first time South Sudan accuses China on its oil production. In February 2012, South Sudan government gave the president of PetroDar, a Chino-Malaysian oil company, 72 hours to leave the country.

Read: South Sudan gives PetroDar President 72 hours to leave Juba

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Despite the order, President Salva Kiir flew to China barely two months in April that year to ask for financial assistance to fight a war at the border town of Heglig, however, the Chinese government directed Mr. Kiir to seek assistance from PetroDar’s President, the man he just kicked out. The South Sudanese president secured loans but at a very high interest rate.

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