News / Asia

China Tries to Remain on Syria Crisis Sidelines

A father comforts his son who has just undergone surgery for a bullet wound in his left shoulder in Maraat al Numan, Syria, November 18, 2012.
A father comforts his son who has just undergone surgery for a bullet wound in his left shoulder in Maraat al Numan, Syria, November 18, 2012.
Shannon Sant
— China and Russia have been heavily criticized for their refusal to support United Nations sanctions against the Syrian government. Now that some Western countries have begun officially supporting the Syrian opposition, pressure is building on Chinese officials to get involved.
 
Fighting continued to rage in Syria this week as Britain joined France in recognizing a newly formed opposition bloc of Syrian rebels.  Other countries including the United States have not recognized the group, but have repeatedly called for sanctions against Syrian President Bashir al-Assad's government.

Despite mounting pressure for China to help push for Assad's overthrow, Beijing's position remains unchanged.
 
When asked about Britain’s support for the Syrian opposition, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Ying Chun said Beijing believes that political resolution is the only right way out for the Syrian issue.  She said any action by the international community should be conducive to ending all violence, promoting the political resolution process of the Syrian issue, and upholding peace and stability in the Middle East region.
 
China has twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for sanctions on the Assad government.  Some analysts say pressure on China to take a firm position on international crises like the situation in Syria will only grow as Beijing's global economic power and influence increases. 
 
“Holding a diplomatic position it had when it was a pretty small, developing economy, several decades ago, this seems rather strange," says Kerry Brown, Executive Director of the China Studies Center at the University of Sydney. "So I think it’s going to be forced to take positions on issues in the past it wanted to keep well away from.”
 
Familiar quandary

China faced a similar quandary in Libya on whether to support rebels there or the Chinese government’s longtime ally, Muammar Gadhafi.  Russia and China abstained from voting on a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing a NATO air campaign over Libya.  That resolution led to NATO intervention in the country and the toppling of Qaddafi’s regime.
 
China had large economic interests in Libya, with, according to Chinese media, $18 billion invested in construction projects.  Libya was also home to 35,000 Chinese migrant workers, whom China had to evacuate when war broke out.
 
China’s interests in Syria, however, are very different. 
 
“I think the thing ultimately is that in Syria Beijing is facing a lose lose situation," says Sarah Raine, a fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, "because on the one hand Beijing has no love for Assad, no major assets, resource-wise in the country, and not even a particularly sizable Chinese presence to worry about.”
 
Earlier this month China did put forward a four-point peace proposal for Syria, calling for a cease-fire and committee that will negotiate a political resolution to the conflict.  

Although some analysts say the plan is a step towards China becoming a responsible international stakeholder, others say the proposal does nothing to resolve the crisis.

Beijing may prefer to remain largely on the sidelines of the conflict for now, but Kerry Brown says its growing economic power means that China may have to take a larger diplomatic role.
 
“Can we see a world in which China will start to be involved in issues of governance and issues of delivery of humanitarian relief, and interventions in other areas that don’t directly effect it?" ponders Brown.  "Will we, the western powers in particular, the U.S., Europe and Australia, will we be happy to see that?  On the one hand they may be willing, but on the other hand will we say this is China becoming too prominent?” 
 
With the bloodshed in Syria continuing, international pressure is expected to increase on China to support Syria’s rebels.   Members of the Friends of Syria group, which supports the Syrian opposition, meet in Tokyo on November 30.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 25, 2012 1:28 PM
Once the war is over. I hope the people of Syria cut all business ties with China for their lack of ending this Assad civillian killer.

In Response

by: zhang nan from: wuhan
November 26, 2012 12:10 AM
i hope Syrian people win the war against Bashar al-Assad dictatorship regime which is brutal and evil.dictator and dictatorship system all over the world should be killed !
Allah bless Syrian people!


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
November 24, 2012 12:53 PM
funny, since when Gadhafi became long time ally of China? Its Gadhafi who has close relation with Taiwan and was warned many times by China. Also it was Gadhafi called China neo-imperialism in Africa.
Yes China has business in Libya but only business, clearly nothing more, like China has business everywhere around the world, does that mean China has allies all around the world?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid