Seeking a Role in Libya

China will assist in reconstruction after its existing agreements are honored by the new government.
2011-09-13
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China's foreign affairs Vice-Minister in charge of Africa and Middle-East arrives at a summit on the post-Gadhafi era in Paris, Sept. 1, 2011.
AFP

Beijing has said it will seek a role in the reconstruction of Libya following its official recognition of the National Transition Council (NTC) as the new government, in return for the honoring of treaties and agreements made during the rule of former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

China's foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had received reassurances from the NTC that the country's new government will uphold all agreements signed with Beijing prior to the revolution.

"We appreciate that and we would like to promote the stable transition and continuous development of China-Libya relations," foreign affairs spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

China on Monday formally recognized the NTC as the rulers of Libya, making it the last member of the U.N. Security Council to do so.

Beijing officials have yet to back the release of more of Libya's assets, which were frozen by the international community since the conflict began in mid-February, however.

China, which has investments estimated to total U.S. $20 billion in the North African country, has previously refused to condemn Gadhafi, and hit out at NATO air strikes in aid of rebel forces.

Beijing, a former staunch ally of the Gadhafi regime, has been accused of offering to sell huge amounts of weapons to Tripoli despite United Nations sanctions at the height of the rebellion.

Beijing has denied the allegations, however, and has published increasingly positive articles about the new relationship with the NTC in its tightly controlled official media.

'Beneficial cooperation'

The NTC had promised to abide by the "One China" policy, which means no diplomatic ties with rival Taiwan, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

It had also agreed to "welcome China's participation in the country's reconstruction," the agency said.

"The statement has demonstrated the NTC's clear political stance," the commentary said. "China and Libya will enhance their mutually beneficial cooperation and work to create a broad prospect for bilateral relations."

It called Beijing's recognition of the NTC a "mature decision made at the right time."

China was ready to support the political and economic reconstruction of Libya and to play a role in the reconstruction process "based on a win-win relationship," the article said.

But it warned against a vacuum in bilateral relations, should the situation change in future, leaving a channel open in case the NTC also fell from power.

"Whatever changes may happen to Libyan rule in the future, efforts should be made to ensure no vacuum is left in bilateral relations and that friendly cooperation and exchanges continue uninterrupted," the article said.

It said the NTC had said it was "delighted" at the news of the formal recognition.

Reported by Luisetta Mudie.

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Anonymous Reader

Shame on China government! Wonder if it has bribed the old and new Libya governments for the contracts.

Sep 13, 2011 12:10 PM

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