BEIJING Dec 26 China will send its special
envoy for Africa to South Sudan to help push talks, China's
foreign minister was quoted as saying on Thursday, as the
world's newest country spirals into violence.
The envoy will head to South Sudan "soon" to communicate
with all parties, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a visit
to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, in comments carried on the Foreign
Wang did not name the envoy, but he was likely referring to
Zhong Jianhua, an urbane veteran diplomat who has deep
experience of the conflict in South Sudan.
The announcement came a day after China called for all sides
in the South Sudan conflict to stop fighting.
The conflict has killed hundreds and some 45,000 civilians
are seeking protection at U.N. bases. Violence erupted in the
capital, Juba, on Dec. 15 and quickly spread, dividing the
land-locked country of 10.8 million people along ethnic lines.
"China is highly concerned about the evolving situation in
South Sudan," Wang said.
China has extensive energy interests in South Sudan.
It is already the biggest investor in oilfields in South
Sudan, through state-owned Chinese oil giants China National
Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Sinopec. Beijing is also one of
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's major supporters.
The fighting has also affected oil production, which
accounts for 98 percent of government revenue in South Sudan. It
has forced CNPC to evacuate some of its workers.
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Nick Macfie)