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China urges immediate cease fire in South Sudan

Xinhua | Updated: 2015-05-22 19:52

BEIJING - China on Friday urged South Sudan's warring sides to immediately cease military confrontations and ensure the safety of foreigners, staff from the United Nations as well as humanitarian aid organizations.

"Both sides have the responsibility to protect oil infrastructure in South Sudan, as oil is a critical resource in its reconstruction and economic development during the country's peaceful transition period," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

The violent clashes between government forces and rebels in South Sudan's oil-rich Unity and Upper Nile states have recently escalated, with civilians facing mounting threats of physical abuse and hunger, according to United Nations agencies.

The latest fighting left more than 650,000 civilians without access to aid. Thousands of homes have been burned in Unity State, a United Nation Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan was reported saying.

Earlier reports said that the rebels are seeking to control areas of oilfields and halt oil production in order to deal a heavy blow to government troops.

Hong said the long-term interests of South Sudanese people and regional peace and stability are now at stake. Hong said he hoped the two sides can keep the future welfare of South Sudanese people in mind and stop fire immediately.

China reiterated many times that South Sudan's conflict cannot be resolved through military solutions, Hong said.

"We urge the conflicting sides to make political decisions and reach reconciliation as soon as possible, and start the substantial transition period." Hong said.

South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, plunged into turmoil in December 2013, and the clash between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Riek Machar have left thousands of South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.9 million people to flee their homes.

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