South Sudan president says attacks amount to declaration war
Salva Kiir’s appeal to Beijing follows Sudan’s bombing of market and oilfield
The president of newly independent South Sudan has told China’s president that attacks by rival Sudan amount to a declaration of war on his country.
There has yet to be a formal declaration of war by either of the Sudans, and Salva Kiir’s remark, made in Beijing during talks with Hu Jintaoon Tuesday, signals a ratcheting up of rhetoric between the rival nations, which have been teetering on the brink of war.
Kiir told Hu his visit comes at “a very critical moment for the Republic of South Sudan because our neighbour in Khartoum has declared war on the Republic of South Sudan”.
South Sudan became independent last year. The countries have since been unable to resolve disputes over sharing oil revenue and determining a border. Talks broke down this month.
On Monday, Sudanese warplanes bombed a market and an oilfield in South Sudan, killing at least two people after Sudanese ground forces had reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery. South Sudan reported on Tuesday that eight more bombs had dropped overnight.
The Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, has vowed to press ahead with his military campaign until all southern troops or affiliated forces are chased out of the north.
China’s energy needs make it deeply interested in the future of the two Sudans, with Beijing uniquely positioned to exert influence in the conflict given its trade ties with the resource-rich south and decades-long diplomatic ties with Sudan’s government in the north.
Pictured: South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir with China’s President Hu Jintao at a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China. Photograph: Adrian Bradshaw/EPA