News / Africa

China Pledges Lasting Friendship with Sudan

Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, shakes hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir during the signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, shakes hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir during the signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Wednesday, June 29, 2011

China’s president is defending his country’s warm reception for Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, saying Beijing’s friendship with Sudan will not change. His comments followed a meeting with his Sudanese counterpart, who is wanted for alleged war crimes.

A military guard stood in attendance as Chinese President Hu Jintao welcomed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to the Great Hall of the People Wednesday.

China's President welcomes his Sudan counterpart

Hu said he believes the trip will consolidate Chinese-Sudanese friendship and promote what he called "substantial" cooperation in various fields.

Bashir said he appreciates China’s hospitality and said he hopes the Asian nation will achieve greater development in the future.

During the meeting, the two leaders participated in a signing ceremony for a technological cooperation agreement and a bridge project in eastern Sudan. On Tuesday, the China National Petroleum Corporation signed an agreement with the Sudanese government to boost cooperation but gave no details.

Much of the international community considers Sudan a pariah state. But in recent years, China has increased its investment in Sudan’s oil industry to correlate with its growing demand for oil. Sudan has become China’s sixth-largest overseas source of oil.

Another issue has been the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Bashir, who is accused of committing war crimes in Darfur. Fighting in the region has killed an estimated 300,000 people since 2003.

Visit to improve China-Sudan relations

Shi Yinhong is an international relations professor at Renmin University. He says China welcomes the West’s views, but is not bound to follow them.

Shi says China is acting according to international law in hosting the Sudanese leader, according to its understanding of international norms. He also emphasizes that China, the United States and Russia are all not members of the Hague-based court.

Shi says the visit will definitely have a positive effect on China-Sudan relations.

The professor says China’s relations with the West may suffer some consequences, but that they will not be, in his words, that important.

The Sudanese leader was originally scheduled to leave China Thursday, but because his arrival in Beijing was delayed by a day it was unclear if he would extend his visit.

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