China still partner of Sudan's north, south after referendum: ambassador

18:14, January 07, 2011      

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China will continue to cooperate with Sudan's north and south to seek mutual benefit regardless of the outcome of the incoming southern Sudan referendum, a senior Chinese diplomat said Friday.

The referendum, slated to start on Sunday, is a central part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the north and the south in 2005. China attaches great importance to the historic moment in Sudan and hopes the operation can be conducted in a just, free, transparent and peaceful way, Chinese ambassador to Sudan Li Chengwen told Xinhua.

"China's concern over the referendum conforms to the interest of the international community. We sincerely hope permanent peace can be achieved in Sudan," he said. "No one would benefit from chaos of Sudan. Maintaining peace and stability of the Africa's largest country should be a consensus and common goal of both sides of Sudan and the international community."

The friendship between China and Sudan has been developing since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1959. China is Sudan's largest trade partner and Sudan is China's third largest trade partner in Africa.

More than 10,000 Chinese people working in over 100 companies are engaged in infrastructure construction, technical cooperation and investment in different parts of Sudan.

The cooperation between China and Sudan's south dates back to the 1970s when the Chinese started agriculture training, building bridges and roads and sending doctors to southern cities of Juba and Wau.

Since the CPA was signed in 2005, China has provided assistance worth of more than 60 million yuan (9.1 million U.S. dollars) to help dig wells, build schools, and carry out medical training. The assistance is highly appreciated by the people in the south.

"Whatever outcome the referendum turns out, China will continue its cooperation with Sudan's south," he said.

In the following three years, more projects by the Chinese, including six roads, two power stations and a 25-km dam, will be finished to enhance Sudan's development, Li said.

"China is confident in the peaceful prospect of Sudan," Li said. "No mater how complicated Sudan's situation is, the Sino-Sudanese cooperation will go on, because it benefits the people."

More than three million southern Sudanese are expected to vote in the referendum to be held in the north, south and eight foreign countries including Kenya, Egypt, and the United States.

The predominantly Arab and Muslim north and the Christian- animist south had been at wars for decades till 2005.

Source: Xinhua
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