BEIJING (Reuters) - China's oil stake in Libya benefited both countries, a Chinese commerce official said on Tuesday, answering a question about a Libyan rebel official's warning that Chinese oil companies could lose out under a new government.
"China's investment in Libya, especially its oil investment, is one aspect of mutual economic cooperation between China and Libya, and this cooperation is in the mutual interest of both the people of China and Libya," the deputy head of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce trade department, Wen Zhongliang, told a news conference.
"We hope after a return to stability in Libya, Libya will continue to protect the interests and rights of Chinese investors and we hope to continue investment and economic cooperation with Libya in the future," said Wen.
On Monday, an official at the Libyan rebel oil firm, AGOCO, said Russian and Chinese firms may lose out on oil contracts for failing to support the rebellion against long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.
China did not use its U.N. Security Council veto power in March to block a resolution that authorized the NATO bombing campaign against Gaddafi's forces, but it then condemned the strikes and urged compromise between his government and rebels. Libya supplied 3 percent of China's imported crude oil last year.
(Reporting by Michael Martina and Langi Chiang, Writing by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills)