China: “Respect the Choice of the Libyan People”

Chinese citizens being evacuated from Benghazi, Libya. 28 February 2011

China said Monday “respect the choice of the Libyan people” after the rebels took control of Tripoli and heavy fighting raged around the residence of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“China respects the choice of the Libyan people and expects a quick return to stability in Libya,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement on its website. “China is ready to work with the international community and play a positive role in future reconstruction of Libya,” said the ministry.

Economic interests

The press in Beijing said that China will continue important projects in Libya. “It is probably time for Kadhafi to take the initiative to resign in order to reduce the tragedy,” said Monday morning in an editorial of the newspaper Global Times. Colonel Gaddafi’s regime does not control “no more than 10% to 15%” of the city of Tripoli, said Monday morning the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

Beijing has, in recent months stepped up its contacts with officials of the National Transitional Council (NTC, political arm of the rebellion), it had recognized NTC in June as “important partner”. China has major economic interests in Libya, where it had evacuated in February and March, during a major operation, some 36,000 of its nationals employed in the oil, construction, railways and telecoms.

Been the permanent member of the Security Council of the UN with veto power, China had abstained in the vote in March, paving the way for air strikes against Libya, then strongly condemned the strikes on several occasions.

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