The Chinese government on Friday said it had “serious reservations” over the United Nations Security Council’s resolution authorising a no-fly zone and air strikes to protect civilians in Libya.

“We oppose the use of force in international relations and have some serious reservations with part of the resolution,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in a statement.

China, along with India, was among a group of five countries in the 15-member council that abstained from voting on the resolution. A 10-0 vote backed the resolution, which called for “all necessary measures

[notwithstanding the previous arms embargo] to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”. The resolution also expressed the UN’s “grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence, and the heavy civilian casualties".

The resolution, drafted by Britain, France and Lebanon, was also supported by the United States, despite its earlier reservations. Besides India and China, Russia, Brazil and Germany abstained from voting. While Russia is a permanent member of the UNSC, Brazil and Germany, like India, are currently serving terms as non-permanent members.

UNSC divided on issue

At a briefing on Thursday, Chinese officials said the UNSC was sharply divided over the issue, with many countries, including China and Russia, objecting to military intervention.

Ms. Jiang said China “and some countries” abstained from voting on the draft resolution “considering the concern and stance” of Arab and African countries. She called on the UNSC to “respect Libya’s sovereignty, independence, unification and territorial integrity.”

“The current crisis in Libya should be resolved through dialogue and by other peaceful means,” she said. "We expect Libya to restore stability at an early date and avoid an escalation of armed conflicts and worsening humanitarian crisis."

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