NTC recognized as ruling authority
Updated: 2011-09-13 08:26
By Zheng Yangpeng and Wang Yan (China Daily)
An NTC soldier holds a rifle with a flag as he secures an area on the frontline near the city of Bani Walid on Sunday. NTC forces are slowly advancing toward loyalist positions in Bani Walid and Sirte, Muammar Gadhafi's hometown. Joseph Eid / Agence France-Presse
China respects choice of the Libyan people, Foreign Ministry says
BEIJING - China on Monday night officially recognized Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) as the ruling authority of the country, the Foreign Ministry announced in a statement.
Nearly 70 countries have recognized the NTC as Libya's government.
"China respects the choice of the Libyan people," Ma Zhaoxu, spokesman for the ministry, said in a statement.
"We highly value the important role played by the NTC and have kept in close contact with it," he said, adding that China had already informed the NTC of the decision.
Ma expressed the wish that Sino-Libyan relations will enjoy a smooth transition and that contracts signed previously between the two countries will remain valid and be implemented.
The statement cited an official from the NTC as saying that the organization and the Libyan people "felt extremely delighted" over the Chinese recognition, which had been "long anticipated".
The NTC attaches great importance to China's role and will abide by all bilateral contracts, the source said. It will also stick to the one-China policy, and welcomes China to participate in the reconstruction of Libya, the Libyan official said.
Analysts and experts welcomed China's decision.
"Now that the NTC has taken control of most of Libya and is actually governing the country, it is natural for China to recognize it," said Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies.
He explained that the main reason for China's long-waited acknowledgement is the lack of a formal announcement by the NTC establishing an interim government.
Interim Prime Minister Mahmud Jibril said on Sunday in Tripoli that the NTC will announce the establishment of an interim government within a week to 10 days, the pan-Arab al-Jazeera TV channel reported.
Jibril told a news conference that all military units which had been fighting forces loyal to the fallen leader Muammar Gadhafi will be brought under the umbrella of the upcoming interim government.
The interim government will include representatives from different regions of Libya, including areas that are still under the control of Gadhafi supporters, Jibril said.
Zhang Xiaodong, a researcher with the Institute of Western Asia and Africa Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said all obstacles had been cleared for China to recognize the NTC.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has followed its own diplomatic principles in making such a decision, he said.
"Unlike Western countries, China does not have ideological preferences, and respects the choice of the people in Libya," Zhang said.
"The preconditions for China to recognize a government is that ... the government is capable of maintaining stability in the country and is recognized by its domestic political forces and the international community," Zhang said.
He also said that China's recognition of the NTC indicates that both sides have reached consensus on major issues.
According to Xinhua, China has 50 projects in Libya worth $18.8 billion. These projects have been suspended due to the conflict.
Qu said that the NTC's attitude toward Chinese assets in Libya is also the reason behind China's decision.
On whether the new Libyan government will give preferential treatment to Western countries in terms of oil production, Qu said that even under Gadhafi's rule China had played a much smaller role in the field than Western countries, such as France and Italy.
He said that China's role in Libya was focused on infrastructure and telecoms, which anniversary on Sept 24.
According to research by the university, most of the world's political and economic powers have courses covering an average of 100 less-commonly taught languages. Courses in the United States, for example, cover 270 of these languages.
"We have heard stories in recent years about Chinese enterprises failing in overseas investment projects because they don't have employees who can speak foreign languages, or know the culture, business rules or laws in those countries," Chen said.
He noted that some State-owned media in China are implementing "go-out" strategies, increasing the number of Chinese journalists working overseas.
"This will also increase the demand for languages outside the mainstream, and we're trying to match the content of our courses with the demand of the employment market," he said.
Students who study these languages at the university could spend a semester overseas, funded by the Ministry of Education and the China Scholarship Council.
Over the past seven decades, the university has employed more than 4,000 foreign experts to teach non-mainstream languages with help from the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs.
To train more qualified Chinese teachers, the university also attracts distinguished students who majored in English, who then study abroad for three years and earn PhD degrees in international relations. These graduates can then teach languages at the university.
"Increasing numbers of students studying less-commonly taught languages prefer to enter enterprises rather than becoming civil servants," Zhao Gang, dean of the university's School of European Languages and Culture, said.
"We provide students second degree courses in economics, law and international relations so that they can be competitive."
He noted that around 90 percent of foreign teachers at the university have PhD degrees and teaching experience overseas.
"The reputation of the university also attracts increasing numbers of overseas students, who speak non-mainstream languages, to study Chinese every year," he said.
Tort Raksmey, a 29-year-old Cambodian police officer, enrolled at the university's School of Chinese Language and Literature in July.
The program aims to promote cooperation between police forces and was jointly launched by the Ministry of Public Security and the Cambodian government four years ago.
"I decided to learn Chinese when I was 18 because the booming economy made me realize that bilingual language skills could help me in business," he said. "I finally became a police officer as expanding trade ties also meant that the two countries were increasing efforts to tackle crime."
He will study Mandarin at the university for a year and get an insight into how the Chinese police operate.
Founded in Yan'an in 1941, the university was New China's first institution specializing in foreign languages. It was originally called the Yan'an School of Foreign Languages and was part of the Russian Language Unit of the Third Branch of the Chinese People's Anti-Japanese Military and Political College.
The college went on to become China's principal base offering foreign language training, and is now a key university under the Ministry of Education.
Dubbed the "diplomat's cradle", the university has seen more than 400 graduates become ambassadors for China.
(China Daily 09/13/2011 page1)
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