News / Asia

China Backs Russian Proposal on Syrian Chemical Weapons

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during a press briefing in Beijing, China. (file photo)
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei speaks during a press briefing in Beijing, China. (file photo)
Shannon Van Sant
China says it supports a Russian plan to avoid U.S. military strikes against Syria by having Damascus hand over its chemical weapons stockpile for destruction. The comments come after a top U.S. defense official pressed Chinese officials to back military action against Syria.

Russia’s proposal to place the Syrian government’s chemical weapons under international control for eventual destruction has won cautious praise from U.S. President Barack Obama, who said it offers hope for avoiding military action.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei also backed the plan.

He said that the international community should consider the proposal as long it was conducive to easing the current situation in Syria and safeguarding peace and stability in the whole region.

China has consistently joined Russia in vetoing United Nations resolutions imposing sanctions or criticizing the Syrian government.  Beijing insisted that political dialogue was the only solution to the conflict.  On Monday, China’s Foreign Minister urged the U.S. to proceed with extreme caution and to return to the U.N. to discuss Syria before launching air strikes.

Chinese authorities are expected to meet with six members of the Syrian opposition Tuesday to discuss the conflict in Syria. However authorities did not identify the group.

China’s state-backed media have warned against a military campaign targeting the Syrian government and said that a U.S. strike would hurt America’s international image. The People’s Daily said military strikes could evolve quickly into a regional war which would threaten the global energy supply and economy.

U.S. Under Secretary for Defense Policy, James Miller, arrived in Beijing this week on a trip originally aimed at bolstering defense ties, but which also included discussions on Syria.

He told reporters Tuesday that he spoke with Chinese authorities about backing military action against Syrian government targets in retaliation for the chemical weapons attack allegedly carried out by Syrian troops.

Miller said that China had an interest in preventing the use of chemical weapons especially to set an example for its neighbor North Korea.

“I emphasized the massive chemical weapons arsenal that North Korea has and that we didn't want to live in a world in which North Korea felt the threshold for using chemical weapons had been lowered,” he said.

When asked about Miller’s comments on North Korea, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei affirmed that China opposed the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 

However he said that China was also opposed to the use of force in military relations and military strikes would add to regional unrest in the Middle East.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs