The Foreign Ministry revealed yesterday the appointment of a new
a special representative for African affairs to focus on the Darfur
issue, as well as pledging to dispatch 275 military engineers to a
peacekeeping contingent in the stricken region.
The inaugural post will be taken up by Liu Guijin, a former
ambassador to Zimbabwe and South Africa.
"Since the situation in Darfur has drawn significant attention
from the international community, the special representative will
focus on this issue," ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular
press briefing, adding that Liu would strive for an overall
improvement in Sino-African relations.
Jiang praised recent developments in Darfur as positive and
pointed out the fact that all sides remained committed to dialogue
Addressing reports that a group of over 100 US lawmakers sent a
letter to President Hu Jintao urging China to do more to stem
violence in Darfur, Jiang congratulated the US for its positive
role in resolving the issue.
"I can say that China and the US share the same objective in
Darfur. We both hope to resolve the issue through political means,"
The 275 Chinese military engineers will go as part of the "Annan
peace plan," under which UN forces will team up with African Union
(AU) counterparts on the ground to halt the bloodshed.
Sudan recently agreed to allow a "heavy UN support package" of
about 3,500 personnel to bolster the 7,000-strong AU force.
After a decade in office, Tony Blair announced his resignation
as British prime minister and Labor Party leader yesterday, a
decision that will come into effect on June 27.
Jiang said that Sino-British ties had maintained a sound
momentum of development in recent years with consistent high-level
visits and political dialogue leading to comprehensive pragmatic
This year marks the 35th anniversary of ambassadorial diplomatic
relations between the two nations and in such spirit, Jiang vowed
China would work with the UK to further their comprehensive
strategic partnership. However, Jiang carefully avoided commenting
on Blair's resignation itself.
As the Dalai Lama cancelled a planned trip to Brussels earlier
this week, Jiang asked the international community to ward off
attempts by the Dalai Lama and his followers to worsen their
relations with China.
The Dalai Lama stands for "Tibet independence," a line firmly
opposed to by the central government, Jiang said.
"The Dalai Lama's words and actions in the past decades show
that he is not a purely religious figure, but a political exile
cloaking himself in religion to carry out his separatist
activities," she said.
Jiang also announced that the British Secretary of State for
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Margaret Beckett, will visit China
from May 16 to 21, and that Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen
will travel to the country from May 15 to 17.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency May 11, 2007)