With Eye on Oil, China Raises Security Profile in South Sudan

With Eye on Oil, China Raises Security Profile in South Sudan

China has agreed to deploy additional peacekeepers to South Sudan, significantly raising its security profile in the war-torn country. With the failure of two cease-fires in South Sudan’s six-month-long conflict, China has committed a brigade of 850 soldiers to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), bringing the force’s total deployment to roughly 20,000 in the coming months. The move reinforces a shift in tactics for China, from noninvolvement toward forging peace.

China’s decision comes after months of turmoil that has impacted every facet of South Sudanese society. Since December, interethnic conflict between Dinkas supported by President Salva Kiir and Nuers supported by Vice President Riek Machar engulfed the new nation after Machar allegedly attempted a coup. Indiscriminate and ethnic violence has impacted key oil-producing states as well as the Unity and Upper Nile states. Rival factions have ignored both previous cease-fires reached through peace talks in Addis Ababa. The U.N. has condemned the violence and urged both sides to lay down their arms.

Already, the conflict has displaced nearly a million people and created 345,000 refugees. Violence has impacted food stability for 3.7 million South Sudanese and hindered the ability of aid workers to access affected communities. The conflict is also damaging South Sudan’s vulnerable economy, cutting oil production, which accounts for 98 percent of GDP, by one-third. Last month, Juba was forced to borrow $200 million from oil companies and postpone loan repayments just to keep the country afloat.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review