April 24 - Chinese President Hu Jintao holds bilateral talks with South Sudanese President Salve Kiir and the two countries sign bilateral agreements on economic cooperation. Nick Rowlands reports.
Chinese President Hu Jintao holds a welcoming ceremony in Beijing for his South Sudanese counterpart Salve Kiir. Kiir's six-day state visit comes at a critical time for South Sudan as he seeks support amid a raging oil dispute with neighbouring Sudan. During bilateral talks, Kiir told Hu that Sudan had "declared war" on the South. China's long-term support for Khartoum - including its role as an arms supplier - had been a sore point with the South, but Beijing has expanded ties with South Sudan, eager to tap into its oil. At a news conference a foreign ministry spokesman said oil is essential to both Sudan and South Sudan, and that maintaining stability and cooperation is fundamental to both countries' interests as well as those of China. At a later ceremony, the two leaders supervised the signing of six bilateral agreements - including pacts on solar energy, humanitarian aid, and finance. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.