Saturday, July 9, 2011

China-Libya relations

The Mandarin service of the Voice of America asked me to comment on China’s current relationship with Libya.

EXPO 2010, Shanghai, China. Flickr/Dv Yang.
I explained that prior to the beginning of conflict, China had contracts for $18 billion worth of projects, mostly construction, and 36,000 workers in Libya. In addition, China has become a major importer of Libyan oil.

All of this came to a halt with the outbreak of conflict.

China evacuated its 36,000 workers and has taken significant financial losses on its contracts.

Although China abstained in the UN Security Council on the resolution that allowed NATO to establish a no-fly zone, China has been publicly critical of the way NATO has implemented the policy.

Initially, China had no contact with the Libyan rebels and maintained its embassy in Tripoli. Probably concluding that Qadhafi’s time in power is nearing an end, China initiated contact with the leader of the rebels beginning early in June. That contact continues as China prepares for the day when it may have to deal with a new government in Libya.

The report follows in Mandarin only.

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