The Chinese government is stepping up its demands that the Western coalition halt air strikes on Libya. Beijing called for an immediate ceasefire on Thursday and warned an even larger humanitarian crisis is in the making.
The Chinese government stepped up its criticism on Thursday of US and European air strikes on Libya. "We believe that the objective of enforcing the UN Security Council resolution is to protect humanitarian (objectives) and not to create an even bigger humanitarian disaster," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Jiang's comments are just the latest in a series of critical signals to come from Beijing over how the coalition is implementing United Nations resolution 1973, which authorised the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya and the bombing of ground targets.
China abstained from the vote, and Beijing has been very clear in its position that the coalition air attacks risk killing civilians and should be halted immediately.
Chinese trade with Libya
Libya, like other countries in Africa, is an increasingly important Chinese trading partner. Prior to the current unrest, there were an estimated 35,000 Chinese expatriates in the country who largely worked on multi-billion-dollar construction projects.
These infrastructure deals point to increasingly close Sino-Libyan cooperation, with Chinese investment in the country totalling an estimated US$10 billion and bilateral trade last year nearing US$7 billion.
For some perspective on Chinese policy in Libya, France24.com sat down with China-Africa relations scholar Deborah Brautigam of the American University in Washington, D.C. Professor Brautigam is the author of "The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa" and blogs on the issue at "China in Africa: The Real Story".
Date created : 2011-03-24