"China has long maintained a no-strings-attached approach to doing business in Africa, with little involvement in conflict resolution. But the friction in recent years between Sudan and South Sudan, and now within South Sudan, has resulted in a marked change because of China's interest in maintaining its oil supply."
JUBA, South Sudan — After South Sudan's optimistic 2011 vote for independence, the country's deadly December descent into ethnic fighting has tried the patience of Western donors, diplomats, humanitarian organizations and investors alike. But for African leaders, when the West demurs, there's always China, with its deep pockets and generous credit lines.
Or is there?
As South Sudan's biggest economic partner, consuming 80% of the oil that accounts for almost 99% of its revenue, China matters here.
But now, even the Chinese are unwilling to move forward on business contracts.
"Unfortunately, everything has changed," Chinese Ambassador Ma Qiang said in a recent interview. "So everything is on hold."