China in Libya - investments and neutrality

Think tank, Beijing includes Tripoli in its network

19 May, 13:00

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO, MAY 19 - Among world and regional powers involved in the Libyan crisis, China is often not considered very much because it is not sending mercenaries to the country or mobilizing drones for air raids, like the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Russia.

    Beijing, however, is ''constantly investing'' at an economic level and is ''exercising influence in ways that promote the integration of Libya within China's global ambitions'', according to an article published by the ''Carnegie Endowment for International Peace'', a leading US think tank.

    When the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi's began in 2011, Beijing abstained from voting when the Security Council authorized military intervention which opened the crisis that is still ongoing, noted the website of the organization that publishes ''Foreign Policy'', one of the most widely read magazines in the world on foreign politics and economics.

    It was a position that, along with countering US influence, reflected ''its calculated neutrality in Libya'', according to two analysts from the organization, who highlighted in the article that the involvement of the Asian superpower ''focused on economic penetration, its strongest line of influence and diplomacy behind the scenes''.

    Already under Gaddafi's regime, China worked on the construction of various infrastructures: in 2011 Beijing had 75 companies that developed 18.8 billion dollars in business in Libya through 36,000 employees working on about 50 projects in sectors including housing construction, railways, telecommunications and hydroelectric.

    China now officially backs the national unity government of Premier Fayez al-Sarraj and its diplomats have met members of Tripoli's executive nine times between 2016 and this year. A foreign bilateral meeting also occurred between Mohamed Siala and Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in mid-2018 with the signature of a memorandum of agreement to include Libya in the new Silk Road, the strategic initiative of the People's Republic of China to improve its commercial connections with Eurasian countries.

    The following year bilateral trade between the two countries went up by 6.21 billion dollars with an annual increase of 160%, especially due to Libyan oil exports.

    Carnagie's analysts however estimated that if General Khalifa Haftar will become relevant on a financial level against Tripoli's government, China will probably strengthen its relations with Cyrenaica's strongman with whom it has ''left open channels''. Proof of this is the 2016 agreement to allow Chinese State-owned companies to fund projects of development of the government of eastern Libya led by Premier Abdullah al-Thinni. (ANSAmed).

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved

    Business opportunities

    The information system of business
    opportunities abroad

    News from Mediterranean