China has begun deploying 700 soldiers to a UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan to protect oil fields and Chinese workers amid a rebellion in the African country, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The newspaper quoted a spokesman for South Sudan's president as saying on Tuesday that the airlift of a Chinese infantry battalion to the South Sudanese states of Unity and Upper Nile was expected to take several days.
China is the biggest investor in South Sudan's oil industry.
UN officials have previously said it would be the first time China had contributed a battalion to a UN peacekeeping mission. Last year China sent a smaller "protection unit" to join a UN mission in Mali.
China has played an unusually active diplomatic role in South Sudan.
Beijing last month pressed South Sudan over renewed violence in the oil-rich state, demanding an immediate ceasefire and political dialogue in the country.