China Says It Is Willing to Listen to UN Migrant Action

Migrants are disembarked from the Italian navy ship Vega in the Sicilian harbor of Augusta, southern Italy, May 4, 2015.

China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday it was willing to listen after the European Union's top diplomat said she had not given up hope of winning U.N. Security Council backing for intervention in Libya to help stop the flow of migrant boats.

Federica Mogherini has proposed sending European military teams to help stabilize Libya if a cease-fire agreement can be agreed upon between the two rival governments now struggling for power in conditions of near anarchy.

For any outside military mission to succeed, consent would be needed from both a Libyan government and the Security Council, where diplomats say both Russia and China, which have the power of veto, may be reluctant.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China supported international efforts to tackle transnational crime, including illegal immigration, although causes such as poverty also needed to be handled.

"We are willing to listen to the relevant party's detailed thoughts," Hua told a daily briefing, when asked if China would support U.N. action. Mogherini, who is due to address the Security Council on Monday, has acknowledged that both agreement in Libya and the backing of the United Nations would be difficult to obtain.

But she also has said she believed the Security Council could be persuaded to support the proposals.

The breakdown of order in Libya since former leader Moammar Gadhafi was toppled in 2011 has allowed traffickers to send tens of thousands of migrants to Europe in often unseaworthy vessels.

Thousands have drowned in the attempt. Pressure for action on the migrant crisis grew last month after around 800 people drowned when the overloaded fishing boat they were packed into capsized and sank some 70 miles [113km] off the coast of Libya.