Home · Weather · Forum · Learning Chinese · Jobs · Shopping
Search This Site
China | International | Business | Government | Environment | Olympics/Sports | Travel/Living in China | Culture/Entertainment | Books & Magazines | Health
Home / Darfur Crisis / China's Effort Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
All We're Saying Is Give Peace a Chance in Darfur
Adjust font size:

By Op Rana

The international community has made it a habit to associate China with the Darfur crisis at every gathering, be it official or unofficial. The onus, it says, is on China to bring peace to the Darfur region of Sudan.

No country, and more so China, doubts the gravity of the situation in Darfur.

It's true China enjoys a good relationship with Sudan. It's true again that trade between the two countries has increased. But it's also true that China has been doing everything in its power to pressure the Sudan government to resolve the Darfur issue.

By all accounts, China played a key role in making Sudan accept the Annan Plan. Now the Sudanese government has accepted the plan's third phase to allow a "hybrid" peacekeeping force of the African Union (AU) and the UN.

The long-sought joint peacekeeping force will combine the existing 7,000 AU force with as many as 20,000 additional military personnel and civilian policemen under UN command.

If there are hurdles in the path of this plan, they have certainly not been created by China. UN analysts say most of the additional troops will not be able to reach Darfur before early next year. In the interim, the existing AU force can only be provided with extra logistical support from non-African countries such as, mark it, engineers from China.

The international community has been pressuring China mainly because it did not agree with a UK-France sponsored resolution that would have allowed the "hybrid" force "to use all necessary means" to protect humanitarian workers and other civilians. But it was not acceptable to Sudan in the first place. And two, China is not the only UN Security Council member to oppose it. Russia is against it, too.

Then consider this: the draft British-French resolution had an authorized ceiling of 19,555 military personnel and 6,400 policemen that could cost up to US$2 billion in the first year of operation. The US administration has been a leading advocate of deploying a robust peacekeeping force in Darfur. That's fine, except that the Bush administration is impeding this process by defaulting on its obligatory payments to the UN peacekeeping budget.

Total US arrears are estimated to be more than US$500 million, and they could exceed US$1 billion by the end of the year. The EU, too, is facing difficulties in fulfilling its promised monetary help to the AU force.

So if the Annan Plan does not work according to plan, can China be blamed for it? Will the pressure on China mount further to arm-twist Sudan into accepting every point that the international community makes?

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel is perhaps the only Western leader to have actually spoken about the root of the problem. In a signed article in The Guardian, he writes: "It is important for international actors to assure Sudan's government that the UN-AU mission will not strive for regime change."

Co-signed by Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, French philosopher Andr Glucksmann, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu and others, the article continues: "Moreover, because Darfur is emblematic of wider difficulties, the international community must look beyond the immediate circumstances and increase efforts to deal with the threats that have played a role in the disaster, such as climate change and environmental degradation. Indeed, the accelerating expansion of deserts will likely lead to a decrease of agricultural yields, less water, and possibly further conflicts. Similar conditions exist in several locations worldwide. So the global nature of this problem must be addressed in places where environmental degradation is already bringing about a dangerous deterioration in peoples' lives. Early prevention is required."

Why doesn't the international community realize the Sudan government has to be convinced that the UN-AU mission will not strive for regime change and that the lack of resources in the fast expanding desert are the main causes of the conflict between Sudanese Arabs and their Sudanese African victims?

Hasn't this lack of resources split the Darfur conflict along racial lines? Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, explains that better: "When you are dealing with very hungry people and desperately poor people, unless you also put forward a realistic and viable development option, you can't make peace."

China has been insisting for some time now that the root of the problem is poverty and lack of resources. Immediate international intervention to stop the killings and rapes in Darfur will not yield the desired results if people are not ensured livelihood. Sanctions and strong arm tactics against Sudan will only succeed in complicating matters.

Darfur is not the only crisis for which the international community has blamed China. Not long ago, it used to be accused of "sheltering" the North Korea. Beijing was blamed for every "slip" that Pyongyang made - the result of realpolitik and Cold War mentality.

But look at where negotiations with the North Korea have reached today. The US has "agreed to lift sanctions" against it and "remove it from its list of states that sponsor terrorism". Before that, the US had even offered direct help to North Korea's flood victims. Unfortunately, the floods have forced North Korea to defer its summit with South Korea from August 28-30 to October 2-4, which will affect the progress of the six-party talks.

North Korea, however, has already shut down its Yongbyong nuclear facility, and has promised to give up its entire nuclear program. The ball to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue has been set rolling. The US, Japan, the ROK and Russia have never been more satisfied with the progress of the six-party talks. And the world knows the role China has played in this.

China may have some weaknesses (and which country doesn't) but not fulfilling its global responsibility is certainly not one of them. All it wants is to proceed carefully, keeping everyone's interest in mind and give peace a chance.

It's time world leaders stopped misleading the people with their disinformation campaign against China for all the wrong reasons.

The author is a senior editor with China Daily.

(China Daily September 5, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Username   Password   Anonymous

China Archives
Related >>
- UN Chief Kicks off Historic Visit to Sudan
- UN Chief to Visit Darfur with 3-part Strategy
- Humanitarian Aid Materials Sent to Darfur
- Five Nations Pledge to Back Darfur Force
- Sudan Approves UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur
- Hope for Darfur
- Confrontation over Darfur 'Will Lead Us Nowhere'
- China's Arms Sales to Sudan Are Limited: Envoy
- Ban: China's Role in Darfur Constructive
Most Viewed >>
-Chinese compatriots withdraw from Chad
-Gabon's Jean Ping elected as AU Commission chief
-North Korea, US hold talks on denuclearization issue
-Kenya's rivals agree to end deadly violence
-World Bank chief to assess floods in Zambia
> Korean Nuclear Talks
> Reconstruction of Iraq
> Middle East Peace Process
> Iran Nuclear Issue
> 6th SCO Summit Meeting
- China Development Gateway
- Foreign Ministry
- Network of East Asian Think-Tanks
- China-EU Association
- China-Africa Business Council
- China Foreign Affairs University
- University of International Relations
- Institute of World Economics & Politics
- Institute of Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies
- Institute of West Asian & African Studies
- Institute of Latin American Studies
- Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies
- Institute of Japanese Studies
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback

Copyright © All Rights Reserved E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号