by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 30, 2011
Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir left China on Thursday wrapping up a controversial three-day state visit that sparked condemnation from the United Nations, Washington and rights groups.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that Bashir, who is wanted on genocide charges, had left the eastern city of Qingdao where he made a brief stop to discuss trade cooperation with officials.
During the visit that began early Tuesday in Beijing, Bashir -- who is unwelcome in many countries -- was given red-carpet treatment before he met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, whom he called his "friend and brother."
China, a major military supplier to the regime in Khartoum and the biggest buyer of the country's oil, gave the Sudanese leader guarantees of financial support and the two sides signed several agreements.
The Sudanese president is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred in the Darfur region, where about 300,000 people have died since 2003.
ICC statutes dictate that any member country should arrest Bashir if he visits. China is not a party to those statutes.
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Thursday expressed disappointment that China failed to arrest Bashir.
"There is a duty and responsibility of every government, including China, to assist the court in bringing to justice" individuals who are sought for alleged violations, she said.
"It is disappointing when states do not deliver on this responsibility."
The Sudanese leader's visit also earned the reproach of the US State Department.
"We continue to oppose invitations, facilitation, support for travel by ICC indictees," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said earlier in the week.
China has defended the visit as "reasonable." Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday Beijing reserved its "opinion on the ICC's prosecution against President Bashir."
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China says navy drills not linked to sea disputes
Beijing (AFP) June 30, 2011
China has said a series of recent naval drills are "routine" and unrelated to simmering tensions in the South China Sea involving a range of nations with competing territorial claims. When asked about the six military exercises staged by the Chinese navy in June, including a joint drill with Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin, defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun urged the media not to speculate ... read more
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