Interview with China's special envoy on China-Sudan oil cooperation

Mar 17, 2008 01:00 AM

by Wen Xian and Jiao Xiang

China has been related closely with the international community in terms of interests, said Liu Guijin, the special representative of the Chinese government on the Darfur issue of Sudan.
Its detailed contents are as follows:

Question: Internationally, certain forces often mention China-Sudan oil cooperation on the Darfur issue. Could you brief us on the true situation?

Answer: China-Sudan oil cooperation has been a matter of recent years. Sudan used to rely on imported oil. A Chinese oil firm has helped the country set up a complete petroleum industrial setup in less than a decade, and its economic and social development has entered a new era. I often asked Western reporters if they knew which African nation's GDP had grown fastest and they often shook their heads. Then, I told them it was Sudan, whose GDP rose 11 % last year and 9 % in 2006.
Certain forces have repeatedly linked the Sino-Sudanese cooperation to the Darfur issue. In fact, such mutually-beneficial cooperation is conducive to the solution of the Darfur issue, as its root cause lies in poverty and the lack of development. The Sudanese government has used oil revenue to spur the national development including the development of the Darfur region.

As a matter of fact, China-Sudan oil cooperation is mutual, equal, transparent and non-exclusive. Many people may not know about a famed oil firm named the Greater Nile Petroleum Co. in Sudan, and Chinese Petroleum Company (CPC) holds its 40 % stake, whereas the Sudanese government has a 5 % stake and two other Asian oil firms have a joint 55 % stake.
Some people censured China as “plundering resources of Africa”. This charge, however, does not hold water and is groundless. Relevant statistics indicated that China only imported 8.7 % of the oil produced in Africa in 2006, whereas 33 % of African oil tapped in the year was exported to the United States, and 36 % to the European Union (EU).

Question: Such accusation is also often heardwith regard to the Sino-Sudan arms cooperation…

Answer: Such a charge is also unfair. The Sudanese defence minister said in September 2007 that his country becomes the third arms producer on the African continent only after Egypt and South Africa, and it is currently self sufficient with the supply of conventional arms. China only constituted a share of 2.11 % in the total global arms sale in 2006, noted a 2006 report of the International Peace Research Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Moreover, according to figures released by the US Congressional Research Service in September 2007, the United States remained the world's largest seller of arms to developing countries. It sold 36 % of its arms to developing countries, while Russia sold 28 %, Britain 11 %, Germany 6 % and China only 3 %.

On the issue of the Sino-Sudan arms cooperation, China does not export arms to non-country entities; its quantities of arms sale are very limited; and they represent only conventional weapons as far as their performance is concerned; they are not entitled to be transferred to a third party; and they are to be used merely for just their self-defence.
On this issue, China has never violated the relevant United Nation resolutions, and it has been meticulous, restrained and very responsible in practice.

Question: Some international forces crave for strong desires to link the Darfur issue with Beijing's summer Olympics. Do you think the intrinsic logic can be established?

Answer: I deem such logic is extremely absurd, for it is crazy objectively or simply poses an objective imagination. The Darfur issue and the Beijing Olympic Games are totally irrelevant.
If this logic is followed, war turmoil in a number of regions around the world should be ascribed to Western nations, as they have involved themselves in oil exploitation in these regions.

Question: As the special representative of the Chinese government on the Darfur issue, you have made four trips to Sudan and attended a relevant international conference recently. For a proper solution of the Darfur issue, what is the focused effort of the Chinese government on the issue?

Answer: Sudan, Africa's largest country by land mass, has a unique geographical location with nine bordering nations; it is in an intermediate zone connecting the Arab world to the sub-Sahara African nations and a transit region to connect Islamism and Christianity with interwoven tribal and religious contradictions. In fact, low-intensity conflicts have existed in the region for half a century at least.
If this regional issue is out of control, it will not be conducive first to the interests of Sudan and its neighbours and then to the interests of the whole of Africa and the international community. Meanwhile, it is not compliant with the interests of the countries concerned, including China, as the interests of China and the international community are related closely to each other.

On the settlement of the Darfur issue, first, the Chinese side holds that it is essential to resort to negotiations and dialogue to seek a long-term, sustainable solution acceptable to all parties and opposes to pressure and punitive measures.
Second, Sudan's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected.
Third, there is an urgent need to advance a “dual-track strategy”, namely, to step up the deployment of the mixed UN-AU Darfur peacekeeping force while pressing ahead with the political reconciliation process.
Fourth, China maintains that the humanity situation and security situation should be stabilized and restored as early as possibly and, fifth, China stands for settling relevant issues through consultations on an equal footing via a tripartite mechanism of the UN, AU and the Sudanese government, which has been proven as a viable channel for the solution of problems.

There is no fundamental difference or antagonism between the policies of the Western nations and China on the Darfur issue, and, nevertheless, there are indeed some differences between them insome concepts, manners and ways of resolving problems, and China is also in opposition to the politicking of some technical matters, which cannot resolve any problems. Moreover, the role China has played on the issue has won an increasing recognition of the international community.
“China in my view has been very cooperative,” said Andrew S. Natsios, the former special envoy of President George W. Bush to Sudan.

The State-owned China Nation Petroleum (CNPC), the single largest investor in Sudan through its 40 % stake in Greater Nile Petroleum, based in Khartoum, has contributed about $ 40 mm to put up bridges, nurseries, clinics, schools and a training centre.
In the field of offering humane aid, the Chinese firm has also done a lot of practical, substantial things in the Darfur region.

Source / People's Daily Online
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