News / Africa

China Navigates Delicate Balance Between Two Sudans

South Sudan mapSouth Sudan map
x
South Sudan map
South Sudan map
Kelly J. Kelly
China has been playing a delicate game of balancing alliances between Khartoum and Juba, especially now as the two countries try to settle their differences over oil fees once and for all. China watchers say that its role in the negotiations mark a change in the developing giant’s foreign policy, and may mark the beginning of a bigger shift across Africa.

Deborah Brautigam, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, has been studying China’s role in Africa for over thirty years. She says she’s been closely monitoring Chinese diplomats during the talks between Sudan and South Sudan in Addis Ababa this summer.

 “Sudan is fascinating because it’s a good example of how China is getting pushed out of its comfort zone in its non-interference policy. You can see that in trying to broker this recent agreement. They’ve had their first special envoy -- shuttle diplomacy. The Chinese never did that before.”

Brautigam explains that China’s usual foreign policy is governed by five principles of peaceful co-existence. One of those principles is that China doesn’t interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign countries, like Sudan and South Sudan. But she says two factors are changing China’s behavior. The first is the need for natural resources for their rapidly growing economy.

 “It’s not only for their own development. They’re also the workshop for the world. [The things they sell] have to be made with resources that come from somewhere to export things to the US and to Europe. To secure those supplies, they realize they need to get more involved in helping to ensure areas are stable and peaceful. Not something they can just sit back and allow others always to take the role.”

The second factor is politics. Brautigam says China wants to be seen as a responsible player on the world stage. A former U-S ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, points out that China also has a particular—and significant—stake in getting the oil flowing again.

 “China has a huge vested interest in this. This is oil that goes through pipelines that they built, and most of it goes to China.”

If what these experts say is true, it’s unlikely that China would help fund a second oil pipeline out of South Sudan that bypasses Sudan, as some have hoped.

 “I’m sure that is what they said to Kiir when he was visiting Beijing in April. They said we can offer you a very large package.  You can repay it with your oil revenues in the future. But use it for the things you need domestically, for your own infrastructure. Don’t use it to build another pipeline that would be stupid.”

 Professor Brautigam says South Sudan—and other African countries—can benefit from China’s brand of foreign aid, which often comes in the form of a secured loan.
 “They think that foreign aid, particularly from developing countries to other developing countries, should benefit both partners. And they see nothing to apologize for [about] that.”

In the past, the Chinese have created loan packages in countries like Ghana, which repaid the money in cocoa beans, and Ethiopia, which repaid it in sesame exports, and even in Sudan, where a Chinese loan repaid in oil helped the country build a refinery. These kinds of arrangement are the kinds of win-wins Brautigam says the Chinese are good at, and likely planning to create in South Sudan, too.

Listen to Nuxoll story on China and the Sudans
Listen to Nuxoll story on China and the Sudansi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AReader from: Calif
August 24, 2012 12:36 PM
“I’m sure that is what they said to Kiir when he was visiting Beijing..."


You needn't put your guess work in here, as there already existed several reports on that matter. It's simply confirmed in Chinese journalism, actually Kiir was so unhappy he trimmed his trip in China. A professor so much misinformed/ill-informed can not afford do anything close to what she called "closely monitoring". I would suggest her to try to learn Chinese first, or simply stay away from any topics involving China.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid