China protects investments in South Sudan
By admin October 9, 2014



South Sudan’s citizens, foreign workers, and their economic means (oil, farming, cattle, etc.) need all the protection they can get. South Sudan is plagued with a violent ethnic conflict that started when President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his chief deputy Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer from his post. Since then, the army was split and rebel groups were formed resulting in the ongoing conflict. They perpetrated mass killings along ethnic lines, cattle wars (because those with the most cattle has the most wealth), and systematic rape of women in the conflict zones. More than 1.5 million people have been displaced and are being housed in various UN Protection of Civilian sites. Some of these sites are in less than humane conditions, experiencing flooding of campsites; however the civilians will not move back to their homes, where it is dry, because they feel safer in the UN sites. Therefore, it is logical that the UN asked for additional troops to assist in the protection of victims of conflict. China responded by sending a battalion for the South Sudan UN mission, the largest for amount for China to date.

It is known throughout the economic and trade environments that China is a big investor in Africa. Sino-African investment hit $198.5 billion in 2000 and is expected to hit $385 billion by 2015. That is no surprise because China does not attach conditions that affect the domestic policies or practices of the investing state, unlike the US or other institutions, for instance the World Trade Organization or World Bank, which attach clauses that promote their worldview in the interested state. Due to the lack of conditions attached to their investments, China has a pronounced grip on African investment and opportunities. Because of their high levels of increased investment, it is not surprising that China volunteered to send the aforementioned battalion.

Even though Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, stated that China will be sending troops to South Sudan only to maintain stability and peace, China is sending their largest number of troops for a U.N. mission to date because they want to protect the oil they export from South Sudan. Not to mention, South Sudan’s order NGOs and businesses operating in the country to fire foreign workers and hire South Sudanese in their place may have been a factor that China considered when agreeing to send troops. (Later, South Sudan backtracked their decision and stated that foreign nationals where allowed to be hired if there are no South Sudanese qualified to take the job). And, from a security standpoint, Chinese oil workers have been abducted in the past by rebel groups to send the message that they want control of the oil in South Sudan, not to mention, opposition leader Riek Machar said in back in April that his fighters are mobilizing to occupy the Paloch oil fields.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, China initially wanted to send its peacekeepers to key oil provinces in South Sudan, such as Unity, Jonglei, and the Upper Nile State where the Paloch oil fields are located. However after criticism and convincing, they mentioned that they will be sending troops to other areas without oil as well, such as the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) County Support Base in Pariang, Unity State. China is sending troops to South Sudan to offer security to UN workers and displaced people living in UN bases and helping the distribution of supplies to said bases.

Therefore, for the sake of the victims of the South Sudanese conflict, it can only be beneficial for China to send their troops for the UN mission in order to also contribute to the humanitarian action and not just to protect their oil investments in South Sudan.


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