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China’s energy needs make it deeply vested in the future of the two Sudans, and Beijing, given its deep trade ties to the resource-rich south and decades-long diplomatic ties with Sudan‘s government in the north, is uniquely positioned to exert influence in the conflict.

Both have tried to win Beijing’s favor, but China has been careful to cultivate ties with each nation. Like others in the international community, China repeatedly has urged the two sides to return to negotiations.

Associated Press writer Alexa Olesen in Beijing contributed to this report.