Beijing : China has urged Libya to protect its investments after a Libyan rebel said Chinese oil companies could suffer following the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.
Wen Zhongliang, deputy head of the ministry of commerce's trade department, said the information manager at the rebel-run oil firm AGOCO, Abdeljalil Mayouf, had said Russian and Chinese firms could lose out on oil contracts for failing to back the rebellion against Gaddafi.
"China's investment in Libya, especially its oil investment, is one aspect of mutual economic cooperation between the two countries, and this cooperation is in the mutual interest of both the people of China and Libya," Wen was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Daily.
"We hope that 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," he said.
China last year obtained three percent of its imported crude from Libya. About 150,000 barrels of oil per day - about one tenth of Libya's crude exports - were shipped to China in 2010.
Yin Gang, an expert on the Arab world at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, said Abdeljalil Mayouf's warning may not represent the position of an emerging, post-Gaddafi government in Tripoli.
"This was one individual's opinion. I can say in four words - They would not dare. They would not dare change any contracts," said Yin.
"Libya is still in a state of chaos and hasn't formed a government. There are certainly different views among the rebels," he said.
The Libyan embassy in Beijing has reportedly switched to the red, black and green flag of the rebel group.