News / Asia

China Says Libya’s NTC Will Respect Existing Treaties

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, (File)
China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, (File)

China is welcoming Libya’s National Transitional Council’s pledge to abide by Libya’s existing bilateral treaties and agreements.  The comments come one day after the Chinese government formally recognized the NTC.

Last week, Chinese officials said they were waiting for the right conditions in Libya before recognizing the National Transition Council.  A week later, it remains unclear what caused the China to change its position and endorse the Libyan government.  

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China views the NTC as moving forward.   

She says that the NTC is drafting a road map for post-war political reconstruction and says China hopes an interim government will be formed there at an early date.

Members of the NTC had previously warned Beijing that its investments and contracts in the country could be at risk because it had been slow to support the revolt against former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says that Beijing wants to work with the NTC to promote friendly and cooperative China-Libya relations.

At the same time, Jiang said that the NTC government endorsed policies that are important to China.

She says China appreciates the NTC’s pledge to uphold the one-China policy and “concretely abide” by the existing bilateral treaties and agreements.

The one-China policy refers to the island of Taiwan, a separately-governed island that Beijing considers part of Chinese territory and has threatened to use military force to prevent it from declaring independence.

The spokeswoman says Chinese diplomats also plan to return soon to the country’s embassy in Tripoli that was evacuated because of the chaotic security situation.

China is the last of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to recognize the National Transitional Council as Libya’s legitimate government.

Yu Guoqing, a research fellow at China’s Academy of Social Sciences, explains Beijing’s delay by saying the Chinese government acted only after thoroughly analyzing the situation.

Yu says China is a big and responsible country that follows its own reasoning.  He says China will not do something just because other countries are doing it.

He also points to a more pragmatic reason for the change - China’s $18 billion worth of investments in Libya.

Yu says the Chinese government hopes the NTC will acknowledge and protect existing Chinese investments.

He says Beijing’s posture also signals its hope there will be future opportunities for Chinese firms to invest in Libya, and that Libya’s new government will protect these future Chinese investments.

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