BEIJING (Reuters) - The world should recognize the efforts made by Sudan in bringing peace to its southern region, now an independent state, and normalize relations with Khartoum, state media on Thursday quoted a senior Chinese diplomat as saying.
Sudan has long been under a U.S. trade embargo, and its leader, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, faces indictment from the International Criminal Court over war crimes charges stemming from long-running fighting in the Darfur region.
But Beijing has maintained close trade, energy and military ties with Khartoum, and last month played host to Bashir.
"The Sudanese government has shown the political will to push the north-south peace process, and has made great efforts in the this regard," the official Xinhua news agency cited China's deputy representative at the United Nations, Wang Min.
Wang called on the international community to "fully normalize relations with Sudan as soon as possible, so the Sudanese people can enjoy peace, dignity and development at the earliest opportunity," Xinhua added.
While China relied on Sudan as its sixth largest source of oil imports in 2010, its has been keen to build a relationship with leaders in the south, which became the world's newest country over the weekend.
Wang urged the two countries to resolve remaining issues between them through "peaceful dialogue," and also called on other countries to help South Sudan.
"We call on the international community to continue providing support for South Sudan's political stability and practical help for South Sudan's economic recovery and development," Wang added.
China recognized South Sudan on Saturday, and President Hu Jintao has promised strong ties with the new country.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)