China’s official newspaper warns West to respect U.N. role and Beijing’s “legitimate interests” in Libya

"About 75 Chinese companies operated in Libya before the war, involving about 36,000 staff and 50 projects"

From Chris Buckley, Reuters:  China’s top official newspaper warned Western powers to let the United Nations lead post-war reconstruction in Libya, saying on Thursday that Beijing would seek to defend its economic stake after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

The People’s Daily, the main paper of China’s ruling Communist Party, laid bare Beijing’s qualms about the influence the United States, European powers and NATO may claim in post-war Libya. It appeared on the day leaders meet in Paris to discuss the future of the north African nation. . . .

"As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has full reason to stress the leading role of the United Nations," said a commentary in the Chinese-language People’s Daily, referring to Libya, where rebels are trying to wipe out resistance from Gaddafi’s supporters.

Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Libya, showed what could go wrong if the U.N. is not the top body guiding international involvement in post-war rebuilding, said the newspaper.

"Looking back at these three local wars since the start of this century, it’s easy to discern a pattern: the United Nations gets involved quite quickly and early on, but as developments evolve, the United States and its NATO allies come to the fore and steadily push out the U.N.," it said. . . .

"Stressing the leading role of the U.N. in Libyan affairs is to protect fairness in the country’s reconstruction," it said, noting China’s investments in Libya’s telecommunications and construction sectors.

"China is willing to play an active role in Libya’s reconstruction, and will give due attention to its legitimate interests in Libya," said the commentary.

The commentary appeared under a pen name "Zhong Sheng," a name suggesting the "voice of China," which is sometimes used to reflect higher level opinion. It reinforced recent comments from Chinese officials, who have joined Russia and Brazil in demanding the U.N. come to the fore in Libya.

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