While China was initially hesitant to celebrate the apparent defeat of Gaddafi’s regime in Libya, the government is now officially recognizing the rebel forces as the future leaders of the country by attending an international summit aimed at preparing Libya for life after Gaddafi. From the Australian:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited China to send a delegate to the Paris meeting when he made a stopover in Beijing a week ago.
China has been reluctant to join the Western nations in Libya, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Vice-Foreign Minister Zhai Jun would attend.
“China supports efforts by relevant parties in restoring stability and promoting the smooth transition of power in Libya, and is willing to join the international community and play an active role in rebuilding Libya in the future,” Mr Ma said.
China had previously criticised the NATO-led bombing campaign against Gaddafi’s forces and refused to condemn the dictator. China is a big investor in Libya, with 26 Chinese companies taking on an estimated $US20 billion ($18.6bn) in business. The flagship newspaper of the ruling Communist Party repeated calls for the UN to take the lead in post-conflict arrangements in the oil-rich North African country.
The Telegraph points out that with China’s clout rising in global affairs, military actions like that taken against Libya by allied forces may not happen so easily next time:
Nearly a decade ago, Karl Rove famously mocked his critics in the “reality-based community” by claiming that America was “an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality”. But today’s reality is that military forays such as the Libyan campaign are increasingly stepping on the toes of the rest of the planet.
When Nato went to war over Kosovo in 1999, the world was a different place. Russia was an economic basket-case led by a drunk. India, which faced international isolation for testing nuclear weapons, was growing at half the rate of 2010. China was neither the world’s second largest economy nor Washington’s biggest creditor. Today, all that has changed. True, it would still be foolish to underestimate the global reach and technological edge of Western military might – or, more particularly, American military might. But flexing those muscles will not be as simple as before.