China repeats opposition to force in Syria


China’s foreign minister has repeated his country’s opposition to the use of force to resolve the crisis in Syria, saying that a political solution is still the only way out, China’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

Russia last month began air strikes on targets in Syria in a dramatic escalation of foreign involvement in the civil war. This has been criticized by the West as an attempt to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rather than its purported aim of attacking Islamic State.

The United States and its allies have also been carrying out air strikes in Syria against Islamic State, and have supported opposition groups fighting Assad.

Visiting Bulgaria, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China supported international anti-terror operations that were in line with international law and had the support of the countries involved.

“At the same time, there should be concerted international anti-terror efforts, and there should be no suspicions or finger-pointing,” Wang was quoted as saying.

“Force cannot resolve the problem. A political resolution still remains the basic way (out),” he added.

While China generally votes with fellow permanent U.N. Security Council member Russia on the Syria issue, it has expressed concern about interference in Syria’s internal affairs and repeatedly called for a political solution.

China, a low-key diplomatic player in the Middle East despite its dependence on the region for its oil, has warned many times military action cannot end the crisis.

China also has its own worries about Islamist militants from its restive far western region of Xinjiang going to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Wang said that China had been participating in international anti-terror cooperation “in its own way”.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)



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