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Oil: China “disappointed” in Finance Minister Deng Athorbei

Author : Emmanuel Akile | Published: Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Ministry of Foreign affairs says it has resolved what it calls exchange of unfriendly words between the Chinese ambassador in Juba and the Minister of Finance.

According to the copy of a letter seen by Eye Radio and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the exchange between the two officials happened in Juba on the 17th of May.

On the 18th May, ambassador Ma Qiang wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, complaining of what he calls “negative attitude” of Minister David Deng Athorbei in the relations of the two countries.

Mr Ma said he was “disappointed” in the Minister after a meeting in which Deng Athorbei argued that “China has been taking our oil but doing nothing to help South Sudan.”

The Chinese ambassador said Mr Athorbei was contradicting President Salva Kiir by denying the generous support of China to South Sudan.

“Since independence of South Sudan, China has been working very closely with South Sudan to support the development of the state-building and improvement of livelihood of the young nation. The bilateral friendship had successfully withstood the test of the civil conflicts of South Sudan, which broke out in December 15, 2013,” the embassy said in the letter.

“H.E Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan, has on various occasions highly praised China as a true friend and the bilateral ties as ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’,” it added.

The letter said Mr Athorbei’s argument also “arbitrarily denied the generous Chinese support to South Sudan and the strong commitment of China to further enhancing assistance to South Sudan, especially the fact that China was the only partner [that] remained to ensure the oil production of South Sudan during the civil conflicts.”

A spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thomas Keneth, confirmed the letter.

He said the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wan Yee, met with his South Sudanese counterpart, Deng Alor, to discuss the matter.

“If there is exchange of unfriendly words between two people, it does not represent the official position of the Republic of South Sudan,” Mr Keneth told Eye Radio.

“We appreciate the highest level of cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Sudan,” he said.

He said the ministers of the two countries, Deng Alor for South Sudan and Wang Yee of China, have agreed that this statement “will not hinder or will not obstruct the ongoing good relations between China and South Sudan.”

He added that “South Sudan is appreciating always the highest level of relations between the two countries.”

In the letter, a copy of which has been seen by Eye Radio, the Chinese ambassador urged South Sudanese officials to hold an objective and correct understanding of the relations between the two countries.

He also stressed urgency for the government to establish an Inter-ministerial Working and Coordinating Mechanism made up of relevant departments at an earliest date.

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