China voices "serious reservations" on Libya no-fly decision

BEIJING Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:54am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Friday it has "serious reservations" about a U.N. decision calling for a no-fly zone over strife-torn Libya, but held back from blocking the resolution because of the demands of Arab and African countries.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu laid out Beijing's worries after the Security Council passed the resolution authorizing the no-fly zone over Libya as well as "all necessary measures", a term for military action, to protect civilians against leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

Ten of the council's 15 member states voted for the resolution, but Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstained. China and Russia could have used their power as permanent members of the council to veto the decision.

Jiang's comments showed China sought to balance its worries about authorizing possible military action with the demands of Arab and other governments angered by Gaddafi's unyielding response to uprisings demanding an end to his rule.

Throughout the recent tumult across the Middle East and north Africa, China has sought to avoid becoming deeply enmeshed and has little appetite for turning the regional upheaval into a point of confrontation with the United States.

The U.N. Security Council should seek to "resolve the current Libyan crisis through dialogue and other peaceful means," Jiang said in a statement on the ministry website (

"We oppose the use of armed force in international relations, and have serious reservations about some of the content of the resolution."

The resolution could lead to a dramatic escalation of international involvement in the conflict that erupted last month between Gaddafi loyalists and rebels trying to topple him. China has long said that it opposes armed international intervention in other countries' internal conflicts.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, Russian and Chinese envoys said the resolution's backers failed to explain adequately how the no-fly zone would work and what the rules of engagement would be.

But the Arab League had requested that the no-fly zone be imposed. Jiang made clear that this weighed on China's decision to abstain, rather than oppose, the resolution.

"In view of the concerns and stance of the Arab countries and African Union and the special circumstances that currently apply in Libya, China and other countries abstained, and did not block the passing of the resolution," said Jiang.

U.N. diplomats said they understood the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan were among Arab League members prepared to take part in enforcing the no-fly zone.

In February, China joined a unanimous Security Council resolution for an arms embargo and other sanctions targeting Gaddafi and 15 members of his inner circle.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills and Jeremy Laurence)

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Comments (5)
hedonist2 wrote:
The very fact that other Muslim countries have requested a no-fly zone, makes China’s hesitation in the matter suspect; this hesitation, coming at a time when folk are suffering, dying by the thousands,and clamouring for democracy, (which China is dead against), makes China’s membership of the UN Security Council very very questionnable!

Imagine a communist country, which is anti-democracy having a veto-power, effectively meaning they could stall any GLOBAL move which is pro-human rights!

Should communist or dictator-ruled countries, which themselves have a loathed system, & have had major upheavals through time against the evils of their own form of government, be in ANY position whatsoever to veto moves that are humanitarian and pro-democracy?


Mar 18, 2011 6:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
leggett wrote:
China is a democratic country, approximately 200,000 leaders of comunities vote for the senate, these people are well informed and yes also are members of the communist party. The U.S. type of democracy allows people to vote that have no idea why or for what they are voting. The U.S. in 1952 also shot itself in the foot by passing the 22nd amendment which limit’s presidential terms. This was a serious blow to democracy and the begining of the end for the U.S. China is showing wisdom by staying out of the Libyan debate and stating that Libyans should create their own destiny.

Mar 19, 2011 7:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dander wrote:

Tibet. How’s that for China’s glorious “wisdom?” Go move there if you really think it’s that great. Talk to me in 5 years after their housing bubble collapses.

Mar 19, 2011 2:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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