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Wednesday
Jun222011

Beijing Hosts Libyan Opposition Leader

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- The leader of Libya's opposition, Mahmoud Jibril, has arrived in Beijing for talks.

At a news conference, a foreign ministry spokesman announced that Jibril would meet with the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who met with Col. Moammar Gadhafi's foreign minister just this month. The spokesman called the opposition "an important political power in Libya."

It's a significant shift in policy for a country that abstained in the UN Security Council vote for military action against Libya and that has been vocal in its criticism of NATO air strikes. While China purports to have a strict policy of "non-interference" where other countries' affairs are concerned, it clearly wants to bring about an end to the crisis in Libya, where it has major oil interests, and where 30,000 of its people were working up until the conflict began.

The Chinese government has not called for Gadhafi to resign nor has it given outright support to the opposition. But this meeting will likely come as a blow to Gadhafi.

It appears that the Chinese are hedging their bets, no longer sure who will come out on top in this conflict and keen to make sure that the oil keeps flowing either way.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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