Peripheral Revision

Unfiltering history as we live it

China regrets multinational air strikes in Libya

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AFP. March 20, 2011

China expressed regret on Sunday over the multinational air strikes in Libya, saying in a foreign ministry statement that it opposed the use of force in international relations.

“China has noted the latest developments in Libya and expresses regret over the military attacks on Libya,” the statement said.

Russia also issued a similarly worded statement in which it called for a ceasefire as soon as possible.

China’s statement made no mention of a ceasefire and stressed that China respected the north African country’s “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity”.

“We hope Libya can restore stability as soon as possible and avoid further civilian casualties due to an escalation of armed conflict,” it added.

Multinational forces led by France and Britain began bombarding Libya with missiles from air and sea on Saturday to enforce a United Nations-mandated no-fly zone and protection of rebels from Moamer Kadhafi’s forces.

China and Russia were the most prominent voices in opposition to military action in Libya within the 15-member United Nations Security Council.

However, neither blocked the UN resolution authorising the operation, abstaining in the Security Council vote on the issue rather than using their veto power.

France and Britain had led the demands for a no-fly zone, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote to the heads of state or government of all the other council members seeking urgent backing for the measure.

China said earlier it abstained after having taken into account “the concerns and positions of Arab countries and the African Union, as well as the current special circumstances in Libya”, without elaborating further.

China, which faces frequent foreign criticism over its own human rights record and treatment of restive minority groups, consistently opposes moves deemed as interfering in the affairs of other countries.

“China has always opposed the use of force in international relations,” Sunday’s statement said, adding that Beijing supported the spirit and principles of the UN Charter, without elaborating.

China’s leaders have watched with concern as a mix of issues ranging from the economy to corruption — and a lack of democracy — sparked popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Arab world.

Premier Wen Jiabao last year rejected any comparison to the situation in the Middle East and North Africa with China.

Nonetheless, leading web censors have blocked results for “Egypt” and other terms that could be related to the uprisings, for instance on the popular web portal sina.com.

It has also poured security forces into the streets in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities across the country in response to anonymous calls for weekly Sunday “strolling” rallies in major Chinese cities.

The calls have largely fizzled under the smothering police response, and no obvious protest actions have been reported.

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Written by peripheralrevision

03/20/2011 at 1:23 am

Posted in China, Libya, Russia

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