BEIJING, Oct 21 (Reuters) - China’s Foreign Ministry urged Libya on Friday to start the transition to “an inclusive political process” in the wake of the death of Muammar Gaddafi.
“At the moment, Libya’s history has turned a new page,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu in a statement issued on the ministry’s website (www.mfa.gov.cn) after Libya’s interim government announced Gaddafi’s death.
“We hope that the transition to an inclusive political process will start as soon as possible, (so as to) safeguard ethnic unity and national unity, restore social stability as soon as possible and rebuild the economy, so that citizens can lead happy and peaceful lives.”
China had a strained relationship with Libya’s interim government after Beijing’s frosty reaction to NATO-led air strikes and attempts by Chinese firms to sell weapons to Gaddafi, but now says ties with the major oil producer are back to normal.
China recognised Libya’s National Transitional Council as Libya’s “ruling authority” last month, saying the umbrella of rebel groups against Gaddafi’s rule had vowed to respect Beijing’s economic interests.
Libya’s interim council has promised rewards for those who took a leading role in backing the revolt against Gaddafi, raising concern that China could be disadvantaged in the key energy sector.
China did not use its U.N. Security Council veto power in March to block a resolution that authorised the NATO bombing campaign against Gaddafi’s forces, but it condemned the expanding strikes and repeatedly urged compromise between his government and the rebels.
China is the world’s second-biggest oil consumer and last year obtained 3 percent of its imported crude from Libya. (Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Ken Wills and Raju Gopalakrishnan)