China, which buys much of Sudan's oil and wields veto power over UN &13;resolutions, is facing rising criticism from Western governments and rights &13;campaigners for having rejected UN forces without Khartoum's &13;agreement.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun told President &13;Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum yesterday that China was willing to continue &13;to play a ''constructive role'' in the Darfur peace process.
Zhai said he &13;''hoped the Sudanese side could show more flexibility on Annan's plan, continue &13;improving the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur and speed up the &13;political process in Darfur'', Xinhua said.
More than 200,000 people are &13;believed to have died in Darfur and some 2.5 million have been driven from their &13;homes into squalid camps since ethnic tensions erupted into revolt in &13;2003.
Sudan has rebuffed international demands to allow the deployment of &13;a large UN force. Annan has suggested a hybrid African Union-UN force, which &13;Khartoum also rejected.