Twenty-nine Chinese workers who were kidnapped in Sudan earlier this week have not yet been released, and the Chinese government is considering its options, including appealing for help from South Sudan and possibly the African Union. From Reuters:
A team of officials China sent to seek the release of the workers will conduct negotiations with South Sudan’s officials in the South Sudan capital of Juba, according to an “authoritative source” cited by the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.
“At the same time, (the group will) go through the African Union and other third or fourth parties to mediate,” the report said. “The purpose is to ensure fully that the 29 compatriots will be able to come home safely.”
China has sought to maintain good relations with both Khartoum, a long-time ally, and newly independent South Sudan, home to investments by state-owned Chinese oil giants China National Petroleum Corp and Sinopec. As the biggest investor in oilfields in South Sudan, Beijing could wield some clout in the negotiations.
See more about the kidnapping via a previous CDT post. Also related, China’s gift of a new $200 million African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa has generated controversy.