China will send observers to Sudan when the south holds an independence referendum on Jan. 9, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
"At the invitation of both the north and the south, China will send observers to participate in the referendum," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular news conference.
"China is willing, together with the international community, to continue to play a proactive and constructive role for the sake of Sudan's peace and stability," Hong said.
South Sudan is scheduled to hold a referendum on Sunday, the outcome of a 2005 peace settlement that ended decades of civil war, to decide whether the major oil-producing region will take steps toward secession.
"China hopes that the referendum in the south of Sudan can be implemented in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful manner and that all parties can put forth efforts in the interest of Sudan's peace and stability," Hong said.