China's Envoy On Darfur Visits US To Explain Beijing Policy

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Sep 06, 2007

BEIJING (AP)--China's special envoy on the troubled Darfur region is visiting the U.S. to explain Beijing's position on Sudan to lawmakers and show business personalities, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Envoy Liu Guijing began a visit to the U.S. and the U.N. this week to communicate Beijing's position on Darfur, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

Along with government officials, lawmakers and reporters, Liu would meet with "people from the entertainment circle," Jiang told a news conference.

The ministry said it did not have Liu's detailed schedule and didn't know which entertainers he would meet, but said he would make a statement on his return next week.

China has been accused by Hollywood actress Mia Farrow and other show business people of impeding a solution to deadly ethnic conflicts in Darfur because of its oil interests in Sudan.

Li's U.S. visit comes as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is visiting the Darfur region as part of a push to end the protracted conflict, which has killed more than 200,000 people and created more than 2.5 million refugees.

Jiang defended China's role in Darfur and said Beijing appreciated Ban's efforts and "supports the U.N. to play an important role in the issue."

"On the Darfur issue, the Chinese government has been playing a positive and constructive role," Jiang said.

China claims its influence with Khartoum is limited and argues that helping the country's economy develop is the best way to end poverty and chaos.

China had earlier lashed out at activists such as Farrow who have sought to raise public awareness on Darfur by linking Beijing's ties with Sudan to its staging of next year's Olympic Summer Games.

Olympic opening ceremonies consultant Steven Spielberg urged Chinese President Hu Jintao to change China's Sudan policy after Farrow also criticized the U.S. movie director.

Farrow, a U.N. goodwill ambassador, has labeled the Beijing Games the " genocide Olympics" and has launched an Olympic-style torch relay through countries with histories of mass atrocities.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
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