10 August 2011 – China is stepping up its ties with the newly independent South Sudan but would appear to be leaning more towards the African country’s northern neighbour for future oil deals. Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, is on an official visit to both Sudan and South Sudan and has pledged further trade relations with the fractious neighbours.
China has reportedly given a 100 million Chinese yuan ($15.55 million) interest-free loan to Sudan as it looks to cement existing ties on exploitation of oil resources. “We are willing to step up the cooperation in oil industry and encourage and support more qualified Chinese companies to invest in Sudan,” Yang is reported as saying after meeting with Sudanese President, Omar Bashir. a China is also to cosy up to Sudan in the fields of agriculture and other mineral extraction, according to reports.
The issue of oil appeared conspicuous by its absence when it came to Yang’s visit to South Sudan, however, despite the country holding three quarters of oil in what until early July was the enlarged country of Sudan. In an interview with South Sudanese media, Yang said: “South Sudan is a vast country with rich natural resources.” He said China is looking to “explore bilateral cooperation in agriculture, mining, housing, telecommunications, water conservancy, road and other sectors.”