China objected Thursday to France's arming of Libyan civilians under attack from government forces, saying that the international community should work toward a peaceful end to Libya's conflict.
In response to a question about France's air-dropping of weapons to civilians fighting Moammar Gadhafi's forces, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not criticize France by name but told reporters that foreign countries should not exceed U.N. Security Council directives.
"China calls on the international community to strictly follow the spirit of the relevant resolution of the U.N. Security Council and avoid taking any action that goes beyond the mandate of the resolution," Hong said at a routine media briefing. "We always call for a political resolution to the Libyan crisis so as to restore peace and stability as soon as possible."
A permanent and thus veto-wielding member of the Security Council, China abstained in the vote that authorized U.N. members to protect civilians rebelling against Gadhafi. Ever since, Beijing has been critical of the NATO-led effort, accusing Western countries of going beyond what the U.N. intended and actively taking sides in the conflict.