Litmus test indeed; this article is a month old but useful to juxtapose against what’s transpiring today. A failed Libyan state is not a scenario in the interest of China as it is one of China’s major sources of oil (150,000 barrels a day last year, a tenth of Libyan crude exports). It will be interesting to see how Beijing plays around with its non-interventionist soft power principles in foreign affairs to keep this resource and deployment stream alive and kicking.
In more recent news - ‘China on Tuesday urged Libya to protect its investments and said their oil trade benefited both countries, after a Libyan rebel warned that Chinese oil companies could lose out after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi’ (Reuters, August 23, 2011). Certainly, the matter is compounded by ‘partnering rogue state’ reports such as when ‘China broke UN embargo to sell arms to Gaddafi‘.
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Libya: Litmus Test in China’s Foreign Policy Shift
By TERESITA CRUZ-DEL ROSARIO AND WANG RUNFEI PHILLIE
Source – Alabrabiya, published July 26, 2011
The Libyan case does provide Beijing a momentum to review its foreign policy.
On Mar 17th, Beijing made the unusual decision not to utilize its veto power to let the military strikes move forward. This authorized the establishment of a “no fly zone” over Libya and the use of “all necessary measures” to prevent civilians from being attacked by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi at the United Nations Security Council vote on resolution 1973. Unusual because this marks the first time that China chose not to block Security Council-backed military measures against another government for human rights or humanitarian causes.
Quickly, Chinese newspapers responded critically to what it considered as western military intervention. The People’s Daily and the China Daily, for example, both launched op-eds stating that the intervention further worsened the “humanitarian crisis” in Libya. Yang Jiechi, China’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said China is “deeply concerned” about civilian casualties and called for an immediate ceasefire in Libya on Mar 24th. Read the rest of this entry »
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