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China regrets military action against Libya

Updated: 2011-03-21 10:36

By Wu Jiao and Ma Liyao (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China has expressed regret over the multinational military strike against Libya, saying it did not agree with resorting to force in international relations.

"China has noticed the latest developments in Libya and regrets the military strike against Libya," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Sunday.

China, as it has always done, disagrees with the use of force in international relations, Jiang said, in response to the strike carried out by multinational forces early on Sunday.

China believes the tenet and principles of the United Nations Charter and relevant international laws should be adhered to, and Libya's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity should be respected, she said.

In a statement posted on the ministry's website, Jiang said: "We hope stability can be restored in Libya as soon as possible so as to avoid more civilian casualties caused by the escalation of military conflict."

China was among five countries that abstained from Thursday's vote on the UN resolution to allow "all necessary measures" - a term for military action - to authorize a no-fly zone and protect Libyan rebels from Muammar Gadhafi's forces.

The military action marked a sharp escalation in international efforts to stop Gadhafi after weeks of pleading by rebels, who have seen early gains reversed when his regime unleashed the full force of its superior air power and weaponry, AP reported.

Analysts warned the air strikes will bring anarchy to the North African country.

Zhang Xiaodong, deputy chief of the Chinese Association for Middle East Studies, said the military action launched by US and European forces will only add to Libya's domestic chaos, and run counter to the objective of the US and its allies to seek an immediate ceasefire in Libya.

Gong Shaopeng, a professor of international politics at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, said Libya may descend into anarchy as it is a "loosely connected tribal society".

Meanwhile, Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Sunday quoted an anonymous military diplomat in the Middle East region as saying that the military action may strengthen Gadhafi's hand.

"The situation in Libya is very complicated; the conflicting parties are at a short distance from each other and the missile attacks may trigger an opposite reaction, as a result of which the so-called opposition and rebels will join forces with Gadhafi," the expert said.

The expert said the air strikes were destroying civilian and economic facilities and the declared goals of creating a no-fly zone over Libya ran counter to the US-led coalition's real actions.

"The American and French military who have attacked Libyan sites are treading on a very dangerous line beyond which irreversible consequences may start and cause large-scale combat operations," the expert said.

Military commentator Liang Yongchun told China Central Television that the length of the air strikes would depend on the time span of ground battle in Libya.

If the ground battle ends and Libyan government force overcome the rebels, Western countries will turn to severe sanctions as the main form of punishment, said Liang.

The US has reiterated its stance of limited involvement in Libya, and vowed not to send ground troops there.

"It is unlikely that there will be a ground invasion, as Western countries do not want to get deeply engaged. Otherwise, they will get severely stuck like the situation in the Iraq war," said Li Qinggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking at the West Point military academy on Feb 26, made clear he does not support a ground invasion.

He said that "any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined', as General (Douglas) MacArthur so delicately put it".

Li Lianxin and Xinhua contributed to this story.

China Daily


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