China to Syria: End Violence, Diss the West

China foreign minister calls for peace in Syria, but wants UN out
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2012 8:14 AM CST
Chinese foreign affairs minister Zhai Jun speaks with journalists after a meeting with Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi on March 7, 2011 in Tunis.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – China may have voted against the UN Security Council resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, but Beijing says it wants an end to the violence there, reports al-Jazeera. "China supports all the mediation efforts by the Arab League to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis," said a statement on China's foreign ministry website, calling on the "relevant parties" to increase negotiations to find a solution to the crisis.

At issue is Beijing's definition of who is relevant, and it is deliberately excluding the West from that list: "The position of China is to call on the government, the opposition, and the rebels to halt acts of violence immediately," said Zhai Jun, China's vice foreign minister, adding that it is important that "calm be restored as quickly as possibly as that serves the interests of the Syrian people." Policy experts said that the apparent contradiction in China's positions appears to stem from its aversion to UN involvement, seeing it as supporting Western countries. "It is wrong to blindly come down on the side of the West in each vote," said a ruling party newspaper editorial. (Read more China stories.)

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