China plans to stay on good terms with Sudan's current contentious regime, pushing for a peaceful resolution to the country's upcoming split.

State-run media in Beijing reported today that Chinese President Hu Jintao told Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir, wanted for war crimes, that China will continue to support trouble-plagued Sudan. China is a key consumer of Sudan's oil and plans to continue to import from both the north and south after South Sudan splits into an independent country later this summer. The official Xinhua news agency said Hu told al-Bashir that China will work toward promoting peace in Sudan, though it's unclear what that means.

"The Chinese side has always respected the will and choice of the Sudanese people," Xinhua quoted Hu as saying.

Al-Bashir's controversial visit to Beijing this week was delayed by a day after reported flight pattern problems, but calls for China to turn him over to the International Criminal Court, where he is wanted for war crimes, fell on deaf ears.

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