China and the World’s Youngest Coun­try

China Today (English) - - CONTENTS - By MICHAEL ZÁRATE

China and Africa have el­e­vated their ties to that of “com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic and co­op­er­a­tive part­ner­ship” last De­cem­ber, and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween China and South Su­dan is just an ex­em­pli­fied case.

ON De­cem­ber 5, 2015, dur­ing the sec­ond Fo­rum on China-Africa Co­op­er­a­tion (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in­tro­duced the ac­tion plans and po­lit­i­cal prin­ci­ples for what will be a new era in re­la­tions be­tween the two sides. In re­cent years, Africa has be­come an im­por­tant part­ner of China, and their ties go be­yond the eco­nomic sec­tor. This is also the case for the re­la­tion­ship be­tween China and the world’s youngest coun­try, South Su­dan.

At the Johannesburg fo­rum, in front of al­most 50 African lead­ers, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping proposed that China and Africa el­e­vate their ties to that of “com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic and co­op­er­a­tive part­ner­ship,” which rests on “five ma­jor pil­lars” of po­lit­i­cal equal­ity and mu­tual trust, win- win eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, mu­tu­ally en­rich­ing cul­tural ex­changes, mu­tual as­sis­tance in se­cu­rity, and co­op­er­a­tion, sol­i­dar­ity and co­or­di­na­tion in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs.

Peace­keep­ing Mis­sion

Lo­cated in north­east­ern Africa, South Su­dan has more than 10 mil­lion in­hab­i­tants. It be­came an in­de­pen­dent state on July 9, 2011, hav­ing suf­fered two armed con­flicts in which around two mil­lion civil­ians were killed. It is both world’s youngest and least sta­ble coun­try, and one of the na­tions that most need help.

Un­for­tu­nately, just a few months af­ter achiev­ing in­de­pen­dence, South Su­dan suf­fered a civil war that dis­placed more than one mil­lion peo­ple in­ter­nally and re­sulted in the flight of 190,000 refugees to bor­der­ing Kenya, Ethiopia, Su­dan, and Uganda. This dra­matic sit­u­a­tion mo­ti­vated China’s col­lab­o­ra­tion and me­di­a­tion.

“Last year, on the ini­tia­tive of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, a meet­ing was held in Khar­toum (cap­i­tal of Su­dan) in which Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi in­tro­duced a strat­egy to pro­mote the peace process in South Su­dan,” Am­bas­sador of South Su­dan to China Michael Milli Hus­sein said in an in­ter­view with Chi­naTo­day.

Am­bas­sador Hus­sein com­mended China’s send­ing an in­fantry bat­tal­ion com­posed of 700 troops to South Su­dan. In fact, this was a land­mark de­ci­sion, as it con­sti­tuted as­sign­ment of the first Chi­nese group of in­fantry to a United Na­tions peace­keep­ing mis­sion. “We are deeply grate­ful to China for its new com­mit­ments to peace preser­va­tion,” UN Un­der-Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral for Peace­keep­ing Op­er­a­tions Hervé Lad­sous said. China has been in­volved in the process of re­solv­ing the South Su­danese con­flict since De­cem­ber 2013, when it started.

Chal­lenges to a Young Na­tion

Am­bas­sador Michael Milli Hus­sein’s ex­per­tise ex­tends be­yond the diplomatic sphere. A grad­u­ate of Egypt’s Alexan­dria Univer­sity, he is also a doc­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in Trop­i­cal Medicine. His views, there­fore, are im­por­tant, es­pe­cially as short­falls in the health­care sec­tor are one of South Su­dan’s main prob­lems.

“South Su­dan is a young coun­try, barely four years old, and for any na­tion, the be­gin­ning is al­ways dif­fi­cult. We have needs in al­most all ar­eas,” Am­bas­sador Hus­sein said. “Cur­rently, China is as­sist­ing and giving train­ing in South Su­dan’s health sec­tor. China sup­plies us with both medicine and the equip­ment nec­es­sary for our phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try, both of which are ar­eas we want to ex­pand.” In fact, Am­bas­sador Hus­sein was in Taizhou of Jiangsu Prov­ince, known as China’s “Med­i­cal City,” at the be­gin­ning of Jan­uary, in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of es­tab­lish­ing co­op­er­a­tive ties in this cru­cial sec­tor.

An­other im­por­tant prob­lem plagu­ing South Su­dan’s first years of in­de­pen­dence is its ab­sence of ad­e­quate health in­fra­struc­ture, an area in which China has much

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Am­bas­sador of South Su­dan to China Michael Milli Hus­sein.

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