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China Reacts Cautiously to Events in Egypt

A Chinese couple walks past a newspaper front page showing Egyptians celebrating and title 'Mubarak hands over power' at a newsstand in Beijing, China, February 12, 2011

Communist Party calls for stability in Egypt after fall of President Hosni Mubarak - saying foreign powers should not interfere

China's authoritarian government has reacted with caution to the ousting of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.

China's ruling Communist Party called Saturday for stability in Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak - saying foreign powers should not interfere.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ma Zhaoxu repeated in an online statement China's guarded response to events in Egypt since pro-democracy protest began 18 days ago.

He did not mention Mr. Mubarak's resignation or how he was toppled from power, instead he repeated the same words from a press conference held last Thursday.

Ma says China has been closely following the changing situation in Egypt and hopes the latest developments will help Egypt to restore national stability and normal order as soon as possible.

China's state media also gave a cautious reaction. The China Daily underscored the government's key slogan that stability is important above all else. It also said in an editorial Saturday foreign powers should not intervene.

The editorial was the first extensive comment from China's state-run media on Mr. Mubarak's ouster on Friday after nearly 30 years as Egypt's ruler. State television news reported on Mr. Mubarak's fall without comment - and did not show pictures of pro-democracy crowds in Cairo.

Many observers say China's cautious response may reflect concern among officials in Beijing for maintaining internal control.

Chinese Internet sites have restricted public comment on the unrest in Egypt. But discussion of the Egyptian leader's fall could nonetheless be found on blogs.

One Chinese blogger wrote: "The impact of this event will go beyond the Arab world. Faraway China will also feel its consequences."

Other reactions in Asia/Pacific region

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Saturday called on Egypt to establish a clear timetable for free and fair elections.

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Japan hopes Egypt will play an "even more constructive role" in the Middle East region than it has in the past.

A spokesman for South Korea's Foreign Affairs Ministry said Seoul respects Mr. Mubarak's decision to step down, and promised the South Korean government will work closely with Egypt's new government.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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