|United Nations peacekeepers secure a section of Juba airport in South Sudan on Aug. 12.|
Before the latest fighting in South Sudan flared, the country accounted for 5% of China’s crude imports. Output has since plummeted by a third to 160,000 barrels a day—following the outbreak of fighting late last year. China began deploying 700 soldiers to a United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan to help guard the country’s embattled oil fields and protect Chinese workers and installations September 9.
“We feel it is not the business of UNMISS [peacekeeping mission]to protect oil installations, whether the Government is capable or not,” Government spokesperson Lul Ruai Koang said at the time. “By stepping in to protect oil installations on behalf of the Government, UNMISS will have sided with one of the parties to the conflict and inevitably become part of the problem, not the solution.”
But the UN clarified that it was mandated to protect civilians, including those working in the oil sector, but not the actual oil installations.
Oil pipeline to Kenya
As for the coming referendum, January 9, 2011 [maybe] on Southern independence, while the resources may be in the southern areas, the infrastructure for exporting them is in the northern area, an attempt to suggest the futility of independence for the south.
That may be, but it has not stopped speculation about the construction of an oil pipeline from southern Sudan to a new port development planned for Lamu on Kenya's Indian Ocean coast.
The pipeline proposal, made by Japan's Toyota Tsusho, the trading subsidiary of automaker Toyota, means that southern Sudan might just be able to ease away from dependence on the north after any vote on secession. here