China regrets multinational air strikes in Libya

"China has noted the latest developments in Libya and expresses regret over the military attacks on Libya," the statement said.

The statement did not call for a ceasefire in Libya, said China respected the north African country's "sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity."

"We hope Libya can restore stability as soon as possible and avoid further civilian casualties due to an escalation of armed conflict," it added.

Multinational forces led by France and Britain began bombarding Libya with missiles from air and sea yesterday to enforce a United Nations-mandated no-fly zone and protection of rebels from Moamer Kadhafi's forces.

China did not block the UN resolution authorising the operation, abstaining in the Security Council vote on the issue rather than using its veto.

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