BEIJING - China has called for all sides in the South Sudan
conflict to stop fighting, China's foreign ministry said, just as the UN
Security Council approved plans to almost double the number of peacekeepers in
the world's newest country.
The conflict in South Sudan 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.
fighting has also affected oil production, which accounts for 98 percent of
government revenue in South Sudan. It has forced Chinese state-owned China
National Petroleum Company , a major oil investor in South Sudan, to evacuate
some of its workers.
China's foreign ministry said in a statement late on
Tuesday that deputy foreign minister Zhang Ming had said China is playing close
attention to the conflict and the impact it was having on South Sudan's
"As South Sudan's friend and partner, China calls on all
sides of the conflict to ... immediately cease hostile actions, and open
negotiations as soon as possible", the statement quoted Zhang as
The remarks were made at a meeting with diplomats from member
states of the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a
seven-nation development organization that includes Sudan and Kenya, the
Zhang also said China supports the IGAD sending a
mediation team to South Sudan.