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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid