Beijing: China said on Friday that Muammar Gaddafi`s death marks the turning of a page in Libya`s history and called for the rapid launch of an inclusive political process and economic reconstruction.
A statement from Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu also urged national unity and the restoration of social stability in Libya following the dictator`s death on Thursday. But it did not directly comment on Gaddafi`s death, in keeping with China`s avowedly neutral stance in the monthslong conflict.
"We have noted the relevant reports. At present, a new page has been turned in the history of Libya," Jiang said.
"We hope Libya will rapidly embark on an inclusive political process, maintain ethnic solidarity and national unity, swiftly establish social stability, begin economic reconstruction, and allow the people to live in peace and happiness," she said.
China abstained in the UN Security Council vote on whether to use force to protect civilians from Gaddafi`s troops and was highly critical of the NATO air campaign that helped unseat the dictator. During the fighting, Beijing maintained contacts with Gaddafi`s regime, even while gradually opening links to the rebels.
China had accused NATO of overstepping its UN mandate, and Chinese diplomats say that strengthened Beijing`s opposition to similar action against Syria`s regime, which was accused of atrocities against civilian protesters.
China joined with Russia earlier this month in vetoing an already watered-down UN resolution criticising the Syrian leadership, saying it objected to its holding open the possibility of sanctions against it.
Such positions do not come without risk for Beijing.
Spokesmen for Libya`s new government have said they may discriminate against Chinese companies because of Beijing`s failure to provide strong support, in contrast to France, Italy and other countries that early on condemned Gaddafi and fervently backed the air campaign.
China had invested billions of dollars in Libyan projects, including housing and railway construction, and was forced to send military cargo planes and a navy frigate to aid in the evacuation of more than 30,000 Chinese workers in the country when the conflict erupted in February.