China “be­trayed” by Rus­sia

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Fol­low­ing the tu­mult in Libya that be­gan sev­eral months ago, China and Rus­sia loudly crit­i­cized U.S.-and NATO-led ef­forts in Libya. China and Rus­sia jointly ab­stained on the U.N. vote to es­tab­lish a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace but both

But on May 24, China’s com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment was stunned by Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov’s state­ment that Moscow was ready to rec­og­nize the rebel gov­ern­ment and would soon es­tab­lish of­fi­cial con­tact. Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev went fur­ther and said in clear un­equiv­o­cal terms at the G-8 sum­mit May 27 that Gaddafi had lost le­git­i­macy and must step down.

The Rus­sian about-face put China in the em­bar­rass­ing po­si­tion of be­ing the only per­ma­nent mem­ber in the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil with­out diplo­matic ties to the rebel or­ga­ni­za­tion. Some Chinese news out­lets, re­flect­ing of­fi­cial angst, cried about a Rus­sian be­trayal and the age-old Sino-Russo an­i­mos­ity ap­pears sud­denly on the rise again. Iso­lated and bit­ter, Chinese gov­ern­ment spokes­woman Jiang Yu is­sued a state­ment on May 31 say­ing China is now will­ing to “keep con­tact with all sides in Libya.”

In­flu­enced by a deep an­tiAmer­i­can strate­gic cul­ture, China’s re­ac­tion high­lights the coun­try’s his­tor­i­cally poor record of mak­ing friends in the world, mainly a re­sult of Bei­jing’s ten­dency to be­friend who­ever the United States views as rogue states or en­e­mies, in­clud­ing in the past North Viet­nam, North Korea, Yu­goslavia un­der Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic, Sad­dam Hus­sein’s Iraq, An­gola, Al­ba­nia, Cuba and Libya. Since 1982, China was Mr. Moam­mar Gad­hafi’s main ally on the world stage and Libya has be­come China’s chief in­vest­ment out­let in North Africa, to­tal­ing more than $20 bil­lion, mostly through telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, rail­ways, and oil fields in­vest­ment, with close to 36,000 Chinese work­ers liv­ing in Libya at the be­gin­ning of the cur­rent un­rest.

Miles Yu can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com.

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