By Philip Buda Ladu
The Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan Hua Ning has refuted concerns raised by the South Sudan National Chamber of Commerce that the Chinese Embassy in Juba denied visas to South Sudanese businessmen to travel to China for business trips.
Lado Lukak, the Deputy Chairperson of the South Sudan National Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture who is a member of parliament revealed on Wednesday during a meeting held between the Chamber of Commerce, South Sudan Ambassador to China and lawmakers at the R-TNLA that South Sudanese traders are always denied visas at the Chinese Embassy in Juba.
The meeting held on Wednesday was to enhance business ties cooperation between China and South Sudan.
Meanwhile Hua Ning, the Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan in reaction to the accusation levied against the Chinese Embassy in Juba, refuted the allegations when asked by journalists over the matter on Thursday.
He said that over the past years, the Embassy has been working very hard trying to facilitate the South Sudanese business people to visit China and that they have streamlined the visa procedures for visa application but he was quick to blame the COVID-19 global pandemic for impeding the travels.
“China has seen a resurgence in some of its major cities so it is a very overwhelming duty for our government to strengthen the pandemic prevention and control so even many Chinese people have to stay at home for the benefit of the pandemic control.”
“So, the current pandemic situation has caused some of the inconveniences for the South Sudanese business people to visit China but we have been making great efforts to trade and invest and we are also using electronic platforms to promote the businesses between China and African countries including South Sudan,” said Amb. Ning.
The Chinese envoy to South Sudan said that they welcome the National Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture members for an official discussion with the Embassy pertaining their concern saying that they haven’t received any formal request for a meeting from them.
Ning hinted that it is always their intention to encourage trade development between the two countries as they have invited the South Sudan small businesses to participate in the Shanghai international import expo. He underlined that when they see improvement of the pandemic situation it will surely be more convenient to visit China.
“Actually, I don’t think that this information is correct, we have our very strict regulated visa policy and I don’t think many people, foreigners living here (Juba) are going to visit China, so it’s not totally the same story. So, I don’t know where this information came from” Amb. Hua Ning responded to media enquiries saying they don’t have any discriminatory policy regarding the visa issuance.
South Sudan and China have been in strong bilateral ties for over ten years now.