Late on Monday night, China became the last permanent power on the UN Security Council to officially recognise Libya’s rebel government as its ruling body.
“China respects the choice of the Libyan people and attaches great importance to the status and the role of the NTC, and has kept close contact with it,’’ foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement recognising the National Transitional Council.
About 70 nations excluding India have so far recognised the NTC authority. China’s official recognition was timed soon after it denied that its state-owned firms sold arms to the Gaddafi regime.
China said that all previous contracts signed with Libya will remain valid. These include investments topping 18 billion dollars in 50 projects in Libya, said Xinhua. Earlier this year China pulled out 36,000 nationals as strife erupted in Libya.
The statement said that the NTC is ‘delighted’ with the ‘long anticipated’ recognition from China. The NTC, in turn, said that it will stick to the one-China policy and welcome Chinese participation in rebuilding the nation.
“It’s a realistic decision. You have to deal with whoever is in power,’’ Shen Dingli, a strategist at Fudan University in Shanghai told HT.
“Now that the NTC has taken control of most of Libya and is actually governing the country, it is natural for China to recognise it,” Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies, a foreign ministry think-tank, told the China Daily.
He said that China would continue to invest in Libya’s future infrastructure and telecom projects.
"Unlike Western countries, China does not have ideological preferences,” Zhang Xiaodong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Chinese media.
“The precondition for China to recognise a government is that the government is capable of maintaining stability and is recognised by its domestic political forces and the international community.”
Gaddafi caught in 40-mile circle
Libya’s former rebels have surrounded the ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and it is only a matter of time until he is captured or killed, a spokesman for Tripoli’s new military council said on Tuesday.
Anis Sharif would not say where Gaddafi had been found, but said he was still in Libya and had been tracked using high technology and human intelligence. Gaddafi is trapped within a 40-mile-radius area surrounded by rebels, he said.
“He can’t get out,” said Sharif, who added the former rebels are preparing to either detain him or kill him.
Locating Gaddafi would help seal the new rulers’ hold on the country. The announcement after convoys of Gaddafi loyalists, including his security chief, fled across the Sahara into Niger in a move that Libya’s former rebels hoped could help lead to the surrender of his last strongholds.
Some former rebels depicted the flight to Niger as a major exodus of Gaddafi’s most hardcore backers.