Conflict & Justice

China no longer Gaddafi's BFF


China's foreign affairs Vice-Minister in charge of Africa and Middle-East Zhai Jun arrives at the Elysee Palace before a summit on the post-Gaddafi era on Sept. 1, 2011 in Paris. This week, China became the last U.N. Security Council member to recognize the Libyan rebels as the leaders of the North African country.


Lionel Bonaventure

"The turmoil in Libya is only temporary, while the China-Libya friendship is everlasting."

That's one way to put it — specifically, the Chinese state media's way.

China has become the final member of the U.N. Security Council to recognize the Libyan rebels, adding to the resistance facing Gaddafi, even as his men continue heavy assaults in Sirte and Bani Walid.

China had previously been accused of offering to sell massive amounts of weapons to Libyan loyalists despite a U.N. ban, and had refused for months to waiver in its support of Gaddafi.

Xinhua continues detailing the role China wishes to play in Libya's reconstruction — a role "based on a win-win relationship":

China's decision has been based on its long-standing independent foreign policy of peace and the principle of respecting the choice of the Libyan people.

China's policy on Libya is not designed to seek its own interests but is entirely in the interests of bilateral relations as well as peace, stability and development in the region as a whole.

CNN has a different take on China's decision to switch allegiance from Gaddafi to the Libyan rebels:

Looking at this move through the prism of an oil-sprinkled lens, Beijing’s motivation comes into focus a bit more. China is the world’s second largest consumer of oil after the U.S. And Libya, at peak production, was pumping out a total of 1.5 million barrels a day. And 11 percent of that went where? You guessed it — China.

Since the conflict in Libya started in mid-February, that oil production has all but dried up. With the potential dawn of a new peace, it stands to reason that China wants to be best positioned with Libya’s leaders, whoever they turn out to be. Ah China, you fair-weathered — albeit very logical — friend.

Logical indeed.

Radio Free Asia reports that China has agreed to help Libya with reconstruction efforts in exchange for having business contracts ($20 billion worth) they signed with Gaddafi's regime honored by the National Transitional Council.