Chinese President Hu Jintao welcomed Sudan’s leader Omar al-Bashir to Beijing on Wednesday, where the two countries signed an economic and technological cooperation agreement and a pact for a bridge project, AP reported. China National Petroleum Corp – which agreed to a 20-year, multibillion-dollar development deal with Sudan in June 2007 – also signed an agreement Tuesday to expand cooperation. The visit by al-Bashir, who faces an arrest warrant for war crimes from the International Criminal Court (ICC), comes ahead of south Sudan’s independence on July 9. Beijing is not a member of the ICC, but has said the charges accusing al-Bashir of atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur region could cause further instability in the country. While China has large oil investments in Sudan and close ties with leaders in the north, it has also been making efforts to curry favor in the oil-producing south.