International Humanity

A Blog Started to Record my thoughts on International News events

China’s Liberal Approach in Sudan’s Darfur Conflict

Posted by alexfrancis on February 2, 2007 This is a link to an article concerning Hu Jintao’s, the current President of China, recent visit to Sudan concerning the Darfur conflict and the commercial influence of China on the situation.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, left, and Chinese President Hu Jintao inspect an honor guard in Khartoum, Sudan Friday Feb. 2, 2007. Jintao on Friday kicked off a landmark two-day visit, the first ever of a Chinese president, to Sudan, amid high expectations he would push China's longtime ally to better cooperate with the United Nations in solving the Darfur crisis. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf);_ylt=AngIuzOZeakGyXrS5rBg0SMV6w8F;_ylu=X3oDMTA3bGk2OHYzBHNlYwN0bXA

AP Photo:Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, left, and Chinese President Hu Jintao 

– This is a link to a larger version of this photo as well as a detailed caption.

On Jaunary 26, 2007, President Hu Jintao held a closed-door meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to urge Sudan to cooperate with the U.N. in allowing 20,000 U.N.  forces to join the African Union troops in Darfur. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had urged Chinese ambassador Wang Guanya to persuade Sudan to accept U.N. peacekeepers.

China’s ability to influence Sudanese policy lies in its strong commercial ties with the country. China purchases more than two-thirds of Sudan’s oil exports annually, and in this most recent meeting gave a generous grant of $5.1 million dollars, a loan of $12 million dollars, and agreed to build new public buildings in Sudan. I view these actions taken by China to be an example of a commercial liberalist approach to exerting influence of Sudanese political policy. By building strong business ties with Sudan, the two countries are more likely to cooperate and agree on policy measures.

In the own words of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, “China is more fair than the West in dealing with Sudan and its policy has helped boost both business and peace in the country.”

The words of Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol also reflect this attitude of friendship saying that “Sudan and China were “in complete agreement” over Darfur.

My view is that China is not necessarily concerned about the humanitary issues of the Darfur conflict rather than its own economic interest in the country. If Sudan had no oil to offer China, then China would not have anything to gain from promoting peace in the Sudan.

In the words of prominent realist Krauthammer “Ignoring one’s interests, squandering one’s resources in fits of altruism is the fastest road to national disaster.” (Quote taken from Kegley and Raymond’s The Global Future, pg. 25)

I think China’s encouraging the Sudan to cooperate with the U.N. is really to maintain the well-being of their oil investment. Sudan is more likely a representation of a long term commercial investment rather than a long term friend. While commercial liberalism is in line with China’s current agenda, perhaps it is merely a selfish move.

Please leave a comment if you can add more insight in this situation.

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