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China to Lend South Sudan $8 Billion

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South Sudan's information minister has announced China has granted the new country an $8 billion loan to fund major infrastructure projects.

In a statement Saturday, Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the money will finance agriculture, telecommunications, and hydropower projects.

The loan comes just days after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir made his first official visit to China. He had to cut short this week's trip, however, because of reports that South Sudan's northern rival, Sudan, had bombed targets inside South Sudan's borders.

China is trying to maintain a neutral relationship with both Sudan and South Sudan as the two countries edge closer to open warfare.

War between the two Sudans would deal a significant blow to Chinese investments in the region and endanger Chinese working in the region.

Sudanese officials say China has more than 100 companies and 10,000 personnel working in the country.

In Beijing, Mr. Kiir won promises of financial support, including pledges of bank loans and humanitarian aid.

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