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Sudan Policy Engages China

Heather Hwalek, Office of Sudan Programs Group
Washington, DC
July 29, 2008

Chinese peacekeeper greets UN commander in South Darfur, Jan. 29, 2008. [AP Photo]

About the Author: Heather Hwalek works in the State Department's Office of Sudan Programs Group.

Members of the State Department's Office of Sudan Programs Group are frequently sought out to participate in conferences held in Washington to discuss the situation in Sudan and the conflict in Darfur. But rarely is there an opportunity to travel halfway around the world -- all the way to Beijing -- to engage Chinese scholars and a diverse group of international actors on the topic.

In June, Sudan Programs Group Deputy Director Jason Small and Desk Officer Kemi Yai boarded a 14-hour flight to China's capital city to attend the country's first public forum on Darfur. A government-affiliated think tank, the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), hosted a two-day conference on "Peace and Development" in Darfur. Academics and NGO representatives from various African, Middle Eastern and European countries joined Chinese academics and government officials from Sudan to discuss the root causes of the conflict, the current situation and trends, possibilities for a peace settlement, and the responsibility of the international community. The conference was an avenue for China to detail for the international community their policy towards Sudan and efforts to end the violence in Darfur. The conference was especially timely given the media hype over China hosting the Summer Olympics next month.

Chinese representatives detailed the Darfur conflict as a fight over resources that could largely be resolved by development assistance. Jason highlighted the challenges to achieving peace in Darfur and the U.S. government's efforts to help meet this goal, such as the contribution of over $5 billion in humanitarian, peacekeeping, and development assistance, financial and logistical support to help train and equip African peacekeeping troops, and continuous engagement in the political process. Kemi Yai spoke on obstacles to the Darfur political process, namely fragmentation of rebel groups and the tenuous relationship between the governments of Chad and Sudan. Jason and Kemi also met with the Chinese Special Envoy to Sudan.

The international community has widely recognized China's strategic importance in addressing Sudan issues. The U.S. government has specifically encouraged China to help pressure the Sudanese government to facilitate the deployment of the joint UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), end the flow of conventional arms to belligerent parties in Darfur, and support humanitarian groups operating in the region. Although China is often criticized for its relationship with the Government of Sudan, it is important to realize that the Chinese have supplied personnel to both UN missions in Darfur, including vitally-needed engineers for UNAMID. This contribution constitutes the first and only major non-African units deployed to Darfur to be accepted by the Government of Sudan.

Though the United States and China may differ at times on the best course of action in Darfur, the Chinese were gracious hosts during the conference. In a display of Chinese hospitality, guests were afforded a visit to the Great Wall and treated to a Farewell Reception in the courtyard of the CIIS building, a beautiful former foreign embassy. The Sudan Programs Group looks forward to continuing its role in building relationships with international partners to address the conflict in Darfur.


Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Heather Hwalek

I wonder how Chinese relations will be with the Sudanese leadership now that the president of Sudan has been indited in the Hauge for genocide?

Which causes me to wonder when the international community will stop wringing its hands in impotence and send someone to arrest him?

And while they're at it, might as well go ahead and impose peace in the region, because surely the family of nations is capable of doing just that if it comes to the hard truth of understanding that the parties to the conflict haven't wanted to stop fighting, no matter how many scraps of paper are signed with enormous diplomatic effort expended.

But hey, if folks can't even provide force protection for the UN aid workers on a consistant basis... one can't help but wonder if it will continue to be a situation of too little, too late, too consistantly.

It's been clear to me for some time that direct military intervention to protect the population is in order, but the UN does not have the directive nor the capacity to take aggressive action to do so when it is necessary to preempt armed agression against civilians.

Which leaves the matter of imposing the peace to those nations willing to take the task on.

Turning Darfur and perhaps all of Sudan into a UN protectorate (E. Timor as example of success) for a period of time may be the only long term political solution until institutions of govenance that respect international law can be restored.

So here's a hypothetical solution:

A suggestion to China is put forth that if one is to join the big leagues of nation builders, Darfur is its test as a "stakeholder" in humanity's well being.

China then offers to send 250,000 troops (at least) to make the UN presence have real impact, having donated them temporarily to the UN to end hostilities between the parties, and disarm them.

Getting back to the public image question of China's involvement, and its human rights record in general....I think China could do a lot to improve that record, and being a major part of a permanment solution to genocidal maniacs and the rebuilding of nations would go a long way to gaining greater respect among free nations.

Judging from the prepared text of Mr. Bush's Asian Foreign Policy speech and his remarks on China, I don't think the above hypothetical suggestion would be too far outside of the realm of possibilities considering the generally good bilateral relations we have with China at the moment. Nation building would be I think a creative augmentation to the direction the US is generally trying to encorage China to take in international affairs, in being a more responsible global partner that is able to use its national capacity to solve global issues.

Posted on Wed Aug 06, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

China, like Sudan, is all about real estate and resources.
China has Tibet
Sudan has Darfur
US has rocks in the head
trying to get China to help with Sudan

something else is going on here.

Posted on Tue Aug 05, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

China knows where it needs to move to. They are fully moving into South America and now Africa with Economic programs, infrastructure and population. Yes, population movements.

Why, because they care? No, because Africa and South America has the raw products they are dependent of. They also realize that the unification of South America and Africa are the only real threat to their manufacturing base. Cheap labor, raw products, etc. will make SA, China and India all competitors within the next decade -- and they know how to migrate. This is one of the limitations of Americans; we are not Nomadic in nature. The State can force population movements in China by many means and like the Islamic population movement worldwide, support it.

We are 30 years late on formal intervention, by the by, but in all honesty and fairness: American Special Forces have been the only ones supporting delivering food and helping the UN for over 30 years -- I know -- Even the proposed evil Halliburton hired mercenaries to protect and extended their service to food deliveries and protection of medical transport and personal in refugee camps without charging the US.

Americans have done more both privately and through all Governmental resources for many decades -- it is the international community which must come together and be persistent and the now growing Nationalism of Africa in general.

China does nothing for free or without future State accommodation. What is diplomatic about that? They are self serving, agnostics now aligning themselves with Russia and India. What does that tell you?

Keep God-fearing cultures fighting and move in?.LOL!

Posted on Thu Jul 31, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

Talking will not stop it.

The Darfur Genocide is now extended into other regions.

We are two years late on intervention.

Sudan's leaders are dancing with glee as they mass-murder.

We don't really care....and now we are deepening our deaf-dumb-and-blind negative reciprocal contracts with China.

Posted on Wed Jul 30, 2008

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