People’s Republic of China on Friday called for an end to the ongoing conflicts in South Sudan where Beijing has been actively operating in economic sectors after the country became independent in 2011.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Friday Beijing was "gravely concerned" about the conflicts that have caused the fleeing of thousands of people from their homes as well as forcing oil companies to shut down their operations in South Sudan.
"We call on the parties in South Sudan to use the fundamental and long-term interests of the people of South Sudan as a starting point, immediately stop military conflict to ensure the safety of South Sudan's foreign workers and personnel working for the UN, humanitarian and aid agencies," Hong said in a regular press briefing in Beijing.
The spokesman stated that oilfields in South Sudan should be protected by all parties operating in the country since they were an “important resource for the country's development.”
Hong urged all parties on behalf of China to "make a political decision" by reaching a settlement as soon as possible.
The rebellious Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in opposition told oil firms this week to shut down and evacuate workers from the Paloch oilfields as it announced that its fighters had captured the site of a refinery under construction in the upper Nile county of Melut.
China is a major investor in South Sudan oil fields and it has been pushing for a diplomatic solution to the South Sudan crisis for which Beijing had decided last December to send 700 peacekeeper troops, the country's first infantry battalion to participate in a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
Clashes between rebels and government troops have intensified in Unity State, South Sudan, as it caused the fleeing of 100,000 people from their homes in the middle of fierce fightings.
Political tension turned into violence when the incumbent president Salva Kiir Mayardit accused the sacked former Vice President Riek Machar of plotting a coup against himse
Four people were reportedly killed in a UN compound this week with two mortar bombs launched by the rebels while a site housing accommodating some civilians was hit in Melut, near by South Sudan's Paloch oilfields, according to a state official told Reuters.
Two global aid agencies, such as Doctors without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have evacuated their staff from South Sudan, with a fear of tense clashes.
South Sudan's President Mayardit and his rival Machar signed a ceasefire deal in January this year, but the violence has been continuing in some parts of the country.
The UN estimated 10,000 people have been killed and another 1.5 million were believed to have displaced since the conflicts began in South Sudan.