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Title: South Sudan's engagement with China : foreign policy of a liberation movement in government
Author: Madut, Akok Mayuat
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 6522
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis seeks to study and understand South Sudanese relations with China after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) from 2005-2011 and 2011-2017. The CPA led to the formation of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) during the six-year interim period (2005- 2011) and subsequent independence of South Sudan in 2011. During the war of liberation, Southern Sudan considered China as an enemy and its oil interests were legitimate military targets for the SPLM/A due to Beijing's economic, political and military support for the government of Sudan. Nevertheless, after the signing of the CPA South Sudan and China opted for cooperation instead of continued confrontation. Grounded in spoiler theory within conflict resolution studies and the context of African state formation, these two approaches explain the behavior of South Sudan towards China, both during the six-year interim period and after independence. In 2005, South Sudan pragmatically decided to engage China for the peaceful implementation of the CPA. Given its considerable leverage, Beijing was the only major power that could prevail over Sudanese leaders in Khartoum not to abrogate the CPA, particularly with regard to the peaceful conduct of the referendum. By the end of the CPA's interim period, South Sudan realized an important role that China could continue to play in resolving post-independence issues between the two Sudans as well as socioeconomic development of a new country, the latter of which South Sudanese leadership had failed to manage. Mainly through primary research and a single case study approach, this thesis concludes that South Sudan's decision to engage China in 2005-2011 was largely advantageous, leading to the peaceful divorce of the two Sudans. Nevertheless, after independence (2011-2017), South Sudan was unable to achieve many of its socioeconomic development objectives. This has been largely due to lack of experience of liberation movements in governance and development, a common factor among many African liberation movements in power. From antagonistic past to pragmatic engagement after the CPA, the evolution of relations was by and large mutually advantageous, leading to the peaceful referendum and subsequent independence of South Sudan on one hand and continuation as well as safety of Chinese oil interests on the other. The SPLM's parallel relations with the Communist Party of China continue to complement and consolidate the two countries' cooperation. The level of political engagement between the two has been remarkable, particularly regarding China's role in managing postindependence issues between the two Sudans, conflict resolution within South Sudan, and Beijing's backing of Juba at the UNSC. Socioeconomic development has been difficult as South Sudan failed in planning, prioritizing and creating stability needed for meaningful development. Despite being a negative factor during the war of liberation, oil eventually became a positive factor and cornerstone of the engagement between South Sudan and China. This thesis aims to offer an in-depth analysis of a foreign policy of a liberation movement in government through South Sudan's relations with China. A unique contribution to the literature has been 'spoiler theory' of peace agreements and the importance of post-conflict state building, which will reinforce our understanding of South Sudan's foreign policy towards China.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral