Constructive engagement marks China’s policy in South Sudan
Published: Jul 12, 2017 12:28 AM

July 9 marked the sixth anniversary of South Sudan's independence. The youngest country in the world has been ravaged by fighting since the end of 2013. The ongoing civil war has interrupted the country's development and plunged its 11 million people into an abyss of misery.

A report issued by the International Crisis Group on Monday says that China is making "a more flexible interpretation of the non-intervention policy" and "playing the unprecedented role of peace builder in South Sudan." Over the past four years, China has constructively engaged in and pushed forward the peace process in South Sudan. It has, to date, led and supported a number of diplomatic initiatives to end the violence in South Sudan, strengthening coordination with other mediators such as the African Union, sending a special envoy to bolster talks and urging the warring parties to end violence and resume dialogue.

China's participation in the mediation of the country's conflicts is due to China's responsibilities and obligations as a responsible major power. Different from Western countries, China opposes forcibly pressuring warring factions into negotiations by imposing sanctions. Instead, it advocates that political settlement is the only way to end a conflict, and supports African countries in solving their problems in an African way. China's moderate attitude is more acceptable to warring parties and they are more willing to listen to the "China plan."

There is no doubt that China has contributed constructively to de-escalating the South Sudan crisis. It is expected to continue to play a major role in helping the country end the violence. 

With the development of China and the diversification of its interests, China's development has been closely linked to that of relatively underdeveloped regions such as Africa. Africa needs China's help for economic growth. China's assistance to African countries, be they at peace or war, is different from that of the West. China has been trying new methods that meet the demands of African countries.

Many African countries have been plagued by failed development efforts in the past. They were either mired in ethnic and religious conflicts, poor governance, or civil war. The Western methods which emphasized institutional change failed to help them out. Now, China is helping countries like South Sudan find the modes of development that most suit them. China has succeeded in countries like Kenya and Rwanda. Chinese methods are greatly welcomed by locals as they have helped create jobs and boosted the economy. 

We hope South Sudan can achieve peace and start reconstruction at an early date. During the process, China will offer the necessary help based on the country's needs.

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