Wikileaks: Sudan: China poised for key role in post 2011 agriculture

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Viewing cable 10KHARTOUM236, SUDAN: CHINA POISED FOR KEY ROLE IN POST 2011 AGRICULTURE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10KHARTOUM236 2010-02-11 09:02 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Khartoum
	VZCZCXRO1071
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0236 0420903
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 110902Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0165
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
	UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000236 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
NSC FOR MGAVIN 
LETIM 
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN 
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAGR ECON EFIN EPET SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN: CHINA POISED FOR KEY ROLE IN POST 2011 AGRICULTURE 
 
1. (U) Summary:  The People's Republic of China (PRC) is encouraging 
Chinese private enterprises to invest heavily in Sudan's agriculture 
sector, Lee "Ali" Wei Zheng, Commercial Officer for the Chinese 
Embassy, told PolEconOff February 3.   Chinese investors currently 
have ten farms in China, and plan to expand those investments.  China 
continues to fund bridges, irrigation projects and road projects, 
including 1,250 kilometers of roads in Darfur and North Kordofan. 
China provided "nontraditional" election aid to the GOS in the form 
of vehicles and communications equipment and will "closely watch" the 
elections.  End Summary 
 
--------------------------------------------- - 
China Diversifies Into Agriculture, Irrigation 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
2. (U) PolEconOff met February 3 with Lee "Ali" Wei Zheng, Commercial 
Officer for the Chinese Embassy.   According to Lee,  China has a 
number of projects to develop infrastructure in Sudan.  China has 
provided funding for projects to build six roads totaling 1,250 
kilometers in Western Darfur, and in Northern Kordofan.  The PRC and 
the Sudanese Government (GOS) are planning additional projects, 
including constructing bridges, in several other regions as a way to 
improve transportation, Lee said. 
 
3.  U)  However, Lee said, China views investment in agriculture as a 
key part of its Sudan strategy.  The PRC is encouraging private 
enterprises to invest heavily in Sudan's agricultural sector.  China 
currently has ten farms in Sudan, Lee said, and is expanding its 
agricultural investments in both the north and the south.  Lee 
pointed out that China also helped Sudan build a sugar factory in 
Sennar State, one of Sudan's most important agricultural areas. 
(Note: Saudi Arabian investors are also reported to have invested 
some 200 million (USD) in agricultural projects in Sennar. End Note.) 
The PRC is also reportedly considering projects in Northern and Nile 
States. (Note:  Northern State is an important producer of wheat, 
beans, sorghum and dates, while Nile State houses the largest 
electricity-generating project in the country, the Merowe Dam, 
constructed by the PRC. End Note.) 
 
------------------------------- 
... In Response to GOS Incentives 
------------------------------- 
 
4. (U) Equally important, Lee told PolEconoff, China is helping Sudan 
strategically use its water supply for agriculture by providing 
irrigation equipment to help grow vegetables and rice crops. 
Agriculture is renewable, said Lee, unlike oil, which is a finite 
resource and will eventually run out.  Consequently, Lee said, the 
PRC has responded to GOS encouragement, which includes "land 
incentives" to engage in agricultural development.  When asked, he 
declined to comment on the specifics of the incentives. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
China Wants Elections to Be Free and Fair 
----------------------------------------- 
 
4. (U) China wants to see a free, fair and peaceful vote in Sudan, 
Lee emphasized.  He confirmed that the PRC provided the GOS with 
communications equipment and vehicles to support the elections. 
(Note: Because the GOS pledged to provide vehicles and communications 
as its own contribution to the election effort, traditional donors 
such as the United States, UK and Norway have declined to assist 
Sudan with these elements.  China, a non-traditional donor, is not 
constrained by the election assistance agreements. End Note.) China 
supports a free and transparent election and will "closely watch" the 
election, Lee said.  He responded ambiguously to an inquiry as to 
whether the PRC would participate in the international observation 
effort. 
 
5. (SBU) Comment:  Reportedly, China's interest in maintaining access 
to Sudan's oil has caused an uptick in engagement with the South as a 
hedge against the prospect of the South's secession following the 
2011 referendum.  Nonetheless, the North, where pipelines, refineries 
and other oil infrastructure are located (and which China largely 
funded and built) continues to be vitally important to China.  This 
new foray into agricultural investment appears intended to signal 
China's constancy as a partner to Sudan regardless of the outcome of 
the 2011 referendum 
WHITEHEAD
Original source: Wikileaks
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