June 28, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s vice-president, James Wani Igga, is in Shanghai as part of a four-day visit to China, officials said on Friday.
- South Sudan vice-president James Wani Igga during his visit to China June 28, 2014 (Larco Lomayat)
The visit, although not officially announced, is considered part of the young nation’s efforts to strengthen its ties with Beijing.
China was among the countries that recognised South Sudan’s independence in July 2011, and has since maintained strong relations with the latter in its oil, construction and telecom sectors.
Last year, China agreed to help South Sudan develop a mining sector and also pledged to lend between $1bn and $2bn for the road, power and agriculture projects in the new nation.
Currently, the biggest investor in new nation’s oil industry, the Asian country has played a limited role in the ceasefire negotiations to resolve South Sudan’s crisis, in line with its policy of non-interference in domestic affairs.
In May, China reportedly agreed to send an infantry battalion 850 soldiers to reinforce the United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. UN officials, however, said this was the first time China would be sending a combat unit to its peacekeeping operation, having previously provided logistical and protection units in Mali and Sudan’s Darfur region.