BEIJING – China on Sunday expressed "regret" over punishing airstrikes by the U.S. and European nations against Libya to enforce a U.N. no-fly zone.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China "consistently disagrees with the use of force in international relations" and expressed "regret" over the Saturday attacks.
In a statement posted on the ministry's website, Jiang said China "hopes the situation in Libya resumes stability as soon as possible" in order to avoid escalation of a military conflict.
China was among five countries that abstained from Thursday's vote on the U.N. resolution to allow "all necessary measures" to stop Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. It was approved with the backing of the United States, France and Britain.
The strikes marked a sharp escalation in the international effort to stop Gadhafi after weeks of pleading by the rebels, who have seen early gains reversed when his regime unleashed the full force of its superior air power and weaponry.
Operation Odyssey Dawn, as the allied assault has been dubbed, followed an emergency summit in Paris during which the 22 leaders and top officials agreed to do everything necessary to make Gadhafi respect a U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday calling for the no-fly zone and demanding a cease-fire
Earlier this week, China had strongly repeated its reservations about the U.N. authorizing military action.