China seeks to protect Libya trade ties

BEIJING, August 23, 2011 (AFP) – China hopes its “mutually beneficial” multi-billion dollar trade links with oil-rich Libya will continue, it said Tuesday after rebels came close to ending Moamer Kadhafi’s 42-year rule. China has ploughed billions of dollars into Libya’s rail, oil and telecom sectors, and the commerce ministry said its investments had been hit by the revolt that erupted in February during the “Arab Spring”.

“Due to the changes in the Libyan situation recently, our investment activities in Libya have been impacted,” Wen Zhongliang, deputy director of the commerce ministry’s foreign trade department, told reporters at a briefing.

“China’s investments in Libya, particularly our oil investments, reflect mutually beneficial economic cooperation between the two countries.

“We hope to continue to develop economic and trade cooperation with Libya in every aspect,” he added.

His comments came as state media reported that China’s largest oil and gas producer has shut down six major projects in several countries including Libya because of political instability.

On Monday China’s foreign ministry called for a swift return to stability in the North African nation, which reportedly sells arou