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Sudan Tribune

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China should prepare for possible South Sudan independence – Machar

September 16, 2010 (JUBA) – As the vote for possible independence of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan is only three months away, the country’s major dealer in oil industry has been told to prepare for what appears to be the inevitable breakup of Sudan into two independent states.

GOSS VP Riek Machar (phto by Dobuol Both)
GOSS VP Riek Machar (phto by Dobuol Both)
China, which is the leading country in oil business mostly produced in Southern Sudan, has been told to initiate dialogue with the emerging world’s newest country, Southern Sudan, on issues of future economic relations with the region.

This came in a meeting on Thursday in Juba between the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), Dr. Riek Machar Teny, and the outgoing head of the Chinese consulate in Juba, Ambassador Zhang Qingyang.

He told the Chinese diplomat that the assessment of the feeling of the people of Southern Sudan has indicated that they will vote for separation in the upcoming referendum which is due to take place in three months time.

He said China should prepare for possible independence of the region so that it would not come as a shock, adding that there is need for further dialogue at both government and party levels aiming at strengthening bilateral relations between China and Southern Sudan for post-referendum economic relations.

Represented in Sudan by its giant oil company, the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Machar said the oil operations are in the South but it flows North through the pipelines, adding that the governments of both Northern and Southern Sudan have been in dialogue on a post-referendum arrangement on the future of oil production, transport and marketing.

Few months ago a delegation from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to Juba and met with the Secretariat of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the Southern Sudan’s capital, Juba, and discussed the need for cooperation between the two ruling political parties.

Machar stressed the importance of more Chinese investment in Southern Sudan such as in the field of agriculture besides oil and other areas of investment potentialities and urged the diplomat to continue promoting Southern Sudan in China. He also commended the Chinese government for its positive response to the formation of GoSS by opening its first Consulate in the region of which Ambassador Qingyang became its first Consul General.

On his part, Ambassador Qingyang said his country was ready to continue building on good relations with Southern Sudan irrespective of referendum outcome.

He also briefed the Vice President on projects China has implemented or wanted to continue implementing. These included building of universities and hospitals as well as working on water projects in the region. COVEC, a Chinese major construction company, has been contracted by the government in the construction and renovation work on buildings in Juba for the last five years.

The outgoing Ambassador Qingyang, who is expected to leave Juba for China next week, expressed his gratitude for the hospitality of the people of Southern Sudan and their government. He added that his successor will continue to promote the bilateral ties between Southern Sudan and China.

Qingyang further said while back in China, he would continue to promote Southern Sudan by enlightening potential investors about the investment opportunities in the region.

(ST)