China Says Libya Turns New Page with Gadhafi’s Death, Urges Inclusive Political Process

Following the death of Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi after a protracted civil war, China has called for the country’s new leaders to establish an “inclusive political process,” AP reports. China claimed to take a neutral position in the civil war between Qaddafi’s forces and rebels, but that was brought into question when it was discovered that Chinese companies has sought to strike a deal to sell arms to Qaddafi’s fighters. From AP:

A statement from Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu also urged national unity and the restoration of social stability in following the dictator’s death on Thursday. But it did not directly comment on Gadhafi’s death, in keeping with China’s avowedly neutral stance in the monthslong conflict.

“We have noted the relevant reports. At present, a new page has been turned in the history of Libya,” Jiang said.

“We hope Libya will rapidly embark on an inclusive political process, maintain ethnic solidarity and national unity, swiftly establish social stability, begin economic reconstruction, and allow the people to live in peace and happiness,” she said.

And AFP looks at China’s economic interests in Libya and how that will influence its relationship to a new leadership:

Underlining the scale of its economic involvement in the country, China had to evacuate nearly 36,000 of its nationals from Libya in a huge land, sea and air operation in February, when fighting first broke out.

Last month, it asked the NTC to guarantee the interests of Chinese companies in Libya amid fears in Beijing the new government may give preferential treatment to Western countries that supported them.

Beijing has commercial and strategic reasons for not wanting the West to exert too much influence in Libya and has said in the past it wants the United Nations to lead reconstruction efforts.

For more on China’s complicated relationship with Libya, see: “Beijing Says Qaddafi Officials Sought Chinese Arms Supplies” and “China Recognizes Libya’s NTC as Ruling Authority; Moves Away from Policy of Strict Non-Interference” from CDT.

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