China condemn latest UN sanction on South Sudan

China condemn latest UN sanction on South Sudan
Chinese Permanent Representative to UN, Amb. Zhang Jun. [Photo: Courtesy]

China has openly condemned the decision by the United Nations Security Council to extend for another year the arms embargo on South Sudan.

Beijing – which is one of the five permanent member states in the Security Council said the decision was “most controversial” according to Ambassador Zhang Jun, Chinese Permanent Representative to UN.

“It (South Sudan) has a poor and weak foundation and it needs constructive support, not pressure by sanctions from the international community.

“This is because the African Union and IGAD have always taken a clear stance against Security Council sanctions on South Sudan and against the Council’s punishment of this youngest nation in Africa,” Jun said in a statement.

Resolution 2633, which was adopted on Thursday with 10 votes (five abstentions), also extends the mandate of the Panel of Experts, which assists the work of the South Sudan Sanctions Committee, to July 1, 2023.

China is among the five countries, including neighbours Kenya, Gabon, India and Russia that abstained.

Six months ago, China was among the 13 nations that voted for the extension of the arms embargo against two abstentions – Kenya and India.

The resolution decides that the arms embargo shall not apply to the supply, sale or transfer of non-lethal military equipment, solely in support of the implementation of the terms of the peace agreement, as notified in advance to the Sanctions Committee.

The change of tune from China could stem from the recent intense lobbying by Juba to key partners to have the sanction lifted.

The diplomat said that in many cases, pressure by sanctions is not only ineffective, but also restricts the ability of the Government of South Sudan to build capacity in protecting civilians.

“This past January, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union issued a communique again calling on the international community to lift the arms embargo and other sanctions on South Sudan in order to build security capacity necessary to maintain national security. 

“It is precisely for the above reasons, that China has been cautious about Security Council sanctions on South Sudan, and it has for many times abstained from voting on resolutions renewing sanctions,” he added.

China and believe that the Security Council should adopt measures to gradually ease the sanctions regime on South Sudan. 

“On this basis, China has put forward constructive amendments, including exempting training and non-lethal equipment from sanctions, changing application of exemption requests to reporting, adjusting targeted sanctions, and so on. Other members of the Council have also proposed similar amendments.

These measures, if adopted, will not exacerbate the conflicts in South Sudan, but will help respond positively to the concerns of the African Union, enhance South Sudan’s capacity building in security, and encourage the Government of South Sudan to take more substantive steps towards implementing the benchmarks for the adjustment of sanctions,” he said.

Those included the completion by the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity of stages 1, 2 and 3 (unification, graduation and deployment of unified forces); progress on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; progress on properly managing existing arms and ammunition stockpiles and the implementation of the Joint Action Plan for the Armed Forces on addressing conflict-related sexual violence.