Trade between China and Sudan is at an all time high and the Sudanese, who want even closer ties with China, are annoyed at attempts to drive a wedge between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Zhang Dong said on Thursday.
"Political ties between China and Sudan are increasingly close, and exchanges are expanding," Zhang told Xinhua in an interview on the eve of a state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to Sudan due on February 2-3.
"My personal feeling is that Sudanese officials and people are grateful for China's help, and they are annoyed at attempts to drive a wedge between Sudan and China," Ambassador Zhang said.
He said bilateral cooperation between China and Sudan was a win-win situation, and this was proven by cooperation in the energy sector.
"With China's fund and know-how, Sudan established a whole chain from upstream sectors to downstream sectors in the oil sector in a short period of time. Now, Sudan is self-sufficient in oil supply and able to export oil to some extent. For China, Sudan becomes one of oil suppliers," he said.
The two countries had much in common on regional and international issues, and China has firmly supported efforts by the Sudanese people to achieve national reconciliation and peace as well as to safeguard national sovereignty and independence, the ambassador said.
"China has spoken out for Sudan from a sense of justice on the international arena and provided valuable support to Sudan, and China never interferes in Sudan's internal affairs," he said.
"For its part, Sudan firmly adheres to the one-China policy and sees China as a close and reliable friend," he said.
Sudan is one of a group of African and Arab countries to first forge diplomatic ties with China 48 years ago, the ambassador said.
He said there had been frequent high-level exchanges of visits. Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir visited China in 1990 and 1995. He also attended the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held last November, when he and President Hu held talks on ways to further promote friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Bilateral economic and trade cooperation has also been developing rapidly in recent years. China is Sudan's largest trading partner and Sudan is China's third largest trading partner in Africa, Zhang said.
The two countries began cooperation in the oil sector in mid-1990s. Thanks to joint efforts, Sudan transformed from an oil importer to an emerging oil producer and oil exporter in a short period of time, Zhang said.
The rapid development of the oil sector has stimulated the overall growth of the Sudanese economy and raised Sino-Sudanese economic and trade ties to a new high, the ambassador said.
Cooperation between the two countries in political, economic, social, cultural and health areas has been fruitful over the past decade, bringing about tangible benefits to the peoples of the two countries, Zhang said.
Economic and trade cooperation between China and Sudan covers electricity, irrigation, transportation and pharmaceuticals, according to Zhang.
Rabia Atti, a senior official of the Sudanese Ministry of Information and Communication, told Xinhua that Sudan gave a special consideration to its ties with China, which it was willing to enhance.
Atti, who is also head of the Publicity Department of the ruling National Congress, said claims China actions in Sudan amounted to neo-colonialism were sheer lies that could not be marketed in Sudan.
"We gain more from bilateral cooperation than China," he said, adding that such cooperation enables Sudan to develop its own economy and strengthen political stability and take a higher standing in the African continent, the Arab world and the international community.
"We want to redouble our cooperation with China in all fields, and that is what we are thinking about," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2007)