News / Asia

China Warns Against Syria Intervention

A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on contents and AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, Aug. 21, 2013, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces.
A citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on contents and AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens trying to identify dead bodies, Aug. 21, 2013, after an alleged poison gas attack by government forces.
William Ide
Chinese state media are warning against military intervention in Syria, arguing the United States and its allies are using chemical weapons as an excuse to pursue regime change.   But some analysts say military involvement would play well into China’s larger strategic interests.

China has long opposed any intervention in Syria. Beijing has already joined Russia in vetoing two United Nations resolutions aimed at pressuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Analysts said foreign intervention against a non-democratic government was a threat to Beijing and some of its allies, such as North Korea.  But Beijing’s stance opposing outside action on Syria was also an opportunity to stand together with Russia, said Xie Tao, a political scientist at the Beijing Foreign Studies University.

“It’s possible and even likely that China has been very consistent on Syria because China really cares more about the appearance of a strategic alliance with Russia than caring really about the situation on the ground in Syria,” said Xie.

China has small oil interests in Syria and very few Chinese nationals live there, but its efforts, with Russia, to fend off intervention, could be a hedge against western influence in the region.

According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service, Russia and China have been Syria’s key supplier of conventional weapons, with Russia accounting for the lion’s share of $2.9 billion in arms. The report said China supplied Assad’s military with $300 million worth of arms between 2003 to 2010.
 
Despite China’s stance blocking outside intervention in Syria, Beijing has been urging the government to talk with the opposition and meet demands for political change.

Shen Dingli, a political scientist at Shanghai’s Fudan University, said China would continue to call for patience and urge the United States and others to wait for the results of a U.N probe into last week’s attack.  If intervention was what the United States and its allies chose, Beijing would not be upset, he said.

“China openly opposes any intervention, but in reality it would welcome and even hopes for intervention. Why is that? Because by intervening, the United States would be attacking itself.  The United States hurt itself when it intervened in Afghanistan in 2002 and again in Iraq in 2003,” he said.

Shen said U.S. intervention in Syria could also affect Washington’s diplomatic and military outreach toward Asia, a policy that Beijing saw was aimed at containing or countering China. U.S. officials dismissed that view, saying the policy was more about shoring up relationships in a region seen as key to American economic and diplomatic interests in the coming years.

Much like the rest of the world, news of a possible impending military intervention in Syria has topped Chinese state broadcasts for days now. Largely absent, however, has been any commentary from the country’s top leaders on the crisis.

Chinese media reports have played up the possibility that last week’s suspected chemical weapons attack was carried out by opposition forces.  Western powers and the Arab League have condemned the chemical weapons attack, which they say was carried out by Syrian forces.

An editorial in the People’s Daily Wednesday, the newspaper of Communist Party, warned that any intervention would only add oil to the flames of Syria’s civil war and frustrate any U.N. effort to seek a resolution to the conflict.

The newspaper argued that talk of possible intervention in Syria was much like the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a decade ago, which it adds, was launched on the pretext of weapons of mass destruction.

You May Like

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid