Sudan’s al-Bashir in China for talks President arrives in Beijing after a delay attributed to a change in flight plan.

China is one of few countries willing to host al-Bashir, under indictment by the ICC for war crimes charges [REUTERS]

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, has arrived in Beijing for talks with Hu Jintao, his Chinese counterpart.

He arrived in the early hours of Tuesday after a delay that the Sudanese foreign ministry attributed to  a change in his flight plan.

Melissa Chan, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Beijing, said al-Bashir now does not have any event scheduled for the day.

She said his meeting with Hu Jintao, a signing ceremony, and meeting with secondary leaders such as Li Keqiang and Wu Bangguo will take place on Wednesday.

China is a major buyer of Sudanese crude oil, and will be keen to ensure the partition of Sudan into two states will not descend into fighting that could disrupt supplies and damage Beijing’s stake on both sides of the new border.

“During President Bashir’s visit to China, both sides will discuss how to consolidate the traditional friendship between their two countries under new circumstances,” Hong Lei, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency.

Hong said that the two sides would also discuss Sudan’s “north-south peace process and the Darfur issue.”

Beijing has been building ties with the emerging state in southern Sudan but remains a major supporter of al-Bashir, including acting as Khartoum’s top arms supplier.

China is also one of the few countries willing to host the Sudanese leader, under indictment by the International Criminal Court over war crimes charges stemming from fighting in the Darfur region.

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