A former U.S. ambassador in Africa, David Shinn, says China pressured Khartoum to accept international peacekeepers in Darfur, in part because of issues related to the Olympics. He says China's role is also crucial in terms of the referendum.
Shinn, who is currently researching China's growing role in Africa, says Chinese officials are paying more and more attention to officials from the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement, known as the SPLM.
This includes inviting them to Beijing, as well as opening a consulate in the former rebel headquarters of Juba, the capital in southern Sudan. "They are going to great lengths to try to ensure that they are well situated in the south on the assumption the south votes for independence," Shinn said.
Shinn says Chinese officials follow a consistent approach of establishing economic ties in areas of interest, such as those containing vast amounts of oil like in southern Sudan, with whoever the authorities are.
"They will simply try to do business, whatever it takes to get it done. And if the SPLM is on the same page, they may very well succeed. So I think that will be the focus of the Chinese effort to shore up their relations with the southern government assuming it becomes independent, and operate on a business-like basis," he said.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I'm quoted in Nico Colombant's VOA article: