China said Thursday it is greatly concerned about the escalating border conflict between Sudan and South Sudan and is ready to help.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July after decades of civil war, but the two never agreed on how to share the oil wealth found in the region, and the border was never fully demarcated.

"China calls on the two countries to immediately stop the conflicts, respect each other's sovereignty, look at the issue from a long-term perspective," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said.

Fighting has intensified in the last several weeks amid fears the two sides could return to an all-out war. On Tuesday, 22 people died in a clash at a river that divides the countries.

Liu called for the two countries to stop the conflict immediately and resume talks. International concern over a peaceful solution to the dispute comes as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowed to "liberate" the people of South Sudan.

Liu said the countries need to settle the dispute through talks.

"China has done a lot of work to relax the tension between the two Sudans. We are ready to work with the rest of the international community and continue to push for peace," Liu said.