24 Apr 2011

China criticises Libya military adviser plan

8:49 am on 24 April 2011

China has told Britain it is not happy about London's plans to send military officers to advise the Libyan opposition.

The British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said his government's decision to send military advisers to Libya conforms with a United Nations resolution aimed at protecting Libyan civilians.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said, however, that Beijing opposes any steps that go beyond the mandate of a UN resolution.

Reuters reports that the Beijing statement stops short of directly accusing Britain of violating the UN resolution but left no doubt that China is unhappy about Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to send about a dozen officers to Libya to help insurgents improve their fighting capabilities.

Russia also opposes London's decision to send advisers.

Both Russia and China are permanent members of the Security Council and could have used that status to veto the resolution authorising air strikes against the forces of Gaddafi.

They instead abstained, letting it go into force, but have since voiced growing misgivings about the Western military campaign in Libya.