KHARTOUM/BEIJING – China's foreign minister was due to meet Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir Monday for the highest-level talks between the two allies in the Sudanese capital since South Sudan seceded to form an independent state.
Yang Jiechi met north Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti in Khartoum and announced that China was giving North Sudan a 100 million yuan (US$15.60 million) interest-free loan, a Sudanese government statement said.
Yang said Monday that China will not alter its policy to develop friendly relations with Sudan no matter how Khartoum's internal situation and regional situation may change, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.
"We are willing to step up the cooperation in oil industry and encourage and support more qualified Chinese companies to invest in Sudan," he said.
North Sudan was the sixth-largest source of Chinese oil imports in 2010. China has maintained close ties with North Sudan throughout a US trade embargo.
Beijing called on the world to normalize relations with Khartoum after South Sudan seceded last month and has also been keen to build a relationship with leaders in the south.
Yang said China will continue its efforts with the international community to find a final solution for the issue of the disputed area of Abyei.
North Sudan and South Sudan both hope to include Abyei in their territory, but Khartoum and Juba have yet to agree on who will control Abyei, stirring fears a long-running quarrel over the region could sour the secession and spark a broader conflict.
Yang said China is paying attention to the ongoing violence in Southern Kordofan, a volatile and oil-rich Sudan border territory.
"China is following the recent development of the situation in South Kordofan State and it has exerted efforts with the concerned parties to calm the situation there," Yang said, adding that China supports the mediation efforts led by the African Union.
Southern Kordofan is in Sudan but includes large populations which sided with the south during a 20-year civil war. Armed groups in the state have been fighting Khartoum government troops since early June.
Yang said the Darfur issue could only be resolved through elimination of poverty and through development, which would lead to peaceful co-existence among the tribes in the Darfur region.
UN peacekeepers have said North Sudan has carried out air strikes in Darfur, killing one civilian, in the first confirmed strike since Khartoum signed a peace deal with small rebel group Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in July.