Tuesday June 2, 2020


September 16, 2011

On Monday September 12, 2011, China became the final permanent member of the UN Security Council to formally recognize the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the ruling government of Libya. The NTC has controlled most of Libya since the start of the nation’s civil war six months ago.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu explained Beijing’s decision saying, “China respects the choice of the Libyan people and attaches great importance to the status and the role of NTC, and has kept in close contact with it.” It is rumored NTC officials warned China about the future of their investments and contracts in Libya after China was slow to show support. Since Beijing’s formal recognition, however,the NTC has pledged to honor all existing treaties and Libyan-Chinese agreements. Spokesman Ma also remained optimistic stating, “China will work with the NTC to realize a steady and smooth transition anddevelopment of bilateral ties,” while stressing the importance of validating and implementing all existing agreements between the two countries.

Just last week Beijing announced they were waiting for the right conditions in Libya to declare supportof the NTC. However, they did not specify what those conditions entailed, nor did they explain what changes transpired this past week to change Chinese officials’ minds. Yu Guoqing, a research fellow atChina’s Academy of Social Sciences, attributes China’s delay of support to their thorough analysis ofthe Libyan situation. Steve Tsang, a professor at Nottingham University, also believes China’s delay of recognition is due to lengthy analysis, but suspects, “the timing was simply determined by the practical issues of negotiations with the NTC and that now they have something they think will be satisfactory from their perspective.”

The NTC said last Sunday it would set up a new government within ten days and announced a timetable over the next 20 months to form a new constitution and hold elections. Most experts believe China and Libya will continue a healthy relationship and move forward as business partners to build upon the $20 billion China has already invested in the reforming nation.


For further information on China’s recognition of Libya’s NTC, please see the following news sources and commentary:

Xinhua: “China recognizes Libya’s NTC as ruling authority, representative of people”

The Guardian: “Libya’s NTC Gains Chinese Recognition”

The Economist: “China’s Evolving Foreign Policy – The Libya Dilemma

Voice of America: “China Says Libya’s NTC Will Respect Existing Treaties”

Compiled and edited by Bridget Hickey.