• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 7:19am

Chinese civilians flee Syria as Beijing calls for restraint

China says military intervention in the crisis would only worsen turmoil in Middle East

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 12:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 8:14am

With US warships poised to punish Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons, the few Chinese civilians and company employees still in the country are fleeing and China's foreign minister and state media have warned against the use of force and called for a political solution.

"Currently there are only about 10 to 20 Chinese nationals still in Syria, excluding diplomats and journalists," China Business News quoted a Chinese diplomat as saying yesterday.

The diplomat said "a few remaining staff with one or two Chinese state-owned companies" were expected to leave as well. Xinhua quoted a trade official as saying that Chinese oil companies had also withdrawn their staff.

Russia is moving two warships to the eastern Mediterranean, Interfax news agency said yesterday, but Moscow denied this meant it was beefing up its naval force there.

A missile cruiser from the Black Sea Fleet and a large anti-submarine ship from the Northern Fleet would be deployed in the "coming days". But a Russian navy official said it was part of a "planned rotation".

US President Barack Obama said he had yet to sign off on a plan to strike Damascus even as Britain sent six RAF Typhoon jets to its Akrotiri base in Cyprus. "I have not made a decision," Obama told PBS NewsHour.

Britain said it would still be permitted under international law to take military action against Syria even if such a move was blocked by the UN Security Council.

British lawmakers were to vote yesterday on how to respond to such situations - but approval for military action will require a second vote.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said his investigating team would leave Syria by tomorrow and report to him immediately. He appealed to international powers to work together to head off military action and said: "Diplomacy should be given a chance ... peace [should] be given a chance."

Zhong Manying , head of the Ministry of Commerce's Department of Western Asian and African Affairs, said trade and business co-operation between China and Syria had suffered due to the escalating tension.

"A political resolution is the only way out for the Syrian issue," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement. "China calls on all sides to exercise restraint and remain calm.

A political resolution is the only way out for the Syrian issue. China calls on all sides to exercise restraint and remain calm
Foreign Minister Wang Yi

"Military interference from the outside will conflict with the United Nations charter and exacerbate turmoil in the Middle East. Nobody should interfere with or prejudge the investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria."

In a signed commentary headlined, "Use of force against Syria - more serious consequences than Iraq war", the overseas edition of People's Daily said the true aim of the US was not related to chemical weapons.

Rather, it was "eagerly wanting to 'smuggle contraband' to help the opposition, promote regime change in Syria, and thus establish international rules and an international order that is advantageous to them".

Reuters, Agence France-Presse


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This article is now closed to comments

World Police can strike any country any time with or without reason.
we need to feed the beast...the military industrial complex beast..
american "exceptionalism" at its best -:)
Since when does the US care about opinions from China, or anyone else for that matter? The Iraq war was started under false pretenses, and was never authorized by the UN. Yet, no accountability was ever held against Bush or his supporters. History tends to repeat itself, and here we go again with Syria.
I think you missed the sarcasm in PCC's comment by about 50 miles.
Many Syrians have died and we abhor this, so let's kill some more to make it right. Assad's a nasty piece of work all right, but if he's overthrown it's likely to be by some group of religious maniacs. Cue burning churches and the oppression of women.
Even if the US's intentions are 100% pure (yeah,yeah I know...) history suggests intervention will only make things worse.
John Adams
WHAT ??!!
The USA can "internally" and unilaterally decide whether to bomb Syria ... and the rest of the civilized world just looks on, and some maybe clap?
What utter, total rubbish !
Why else are there countries ( which include China) with vetoes in the UN ?
Incidentally, when Obama was first running for office, I was surprised at how much was made of the fact that he is black. Now I know why. It's not because being the first black president is such an amazing thing, it is because the colour of his skin is about the only thing that differentiates this president from the previous one.
John Adams
Correct ! The whole story stinks
It's the Iraqi WMD / chemical weapons concocted story all over again
As per Watergate... "follow the money". There's that US$600 billion budget to justify and keep up
Well, an annual 600 Billion USD for the military spending needs be justified.
How can Assad be so stupid, as the civil war is developing positive for him, to use chemical weapons when he knew that the USA will intervene? The rebels are on the brink losing the war, they called for a long time desperately for an intervention of the USA and Nato. Obama named the use of chemical weapons as the condition when the USA will take measures. Then the UN sent some representants to Syria to the regions for 2 days only and coincidently chemical weapons were fired and killed civilians. This story stinks from the base and some needs an excuse and reason for US and Nato intervention.
John Adams
Bashar al-Assad is indeed a ruthless dictator and as such he deserves to be deposed and executed.
But he is not an idiot.
I really doubt whether his side in the conflict launched chemical weapons.
Knowing the USA's past history of inventing excuses for war and evidence where it does not exist to overthrow anti-USA middle eastern countries (Iraq for one!) I have severe doubts about who really fired the chemical weapons.
"Britain said it would still be permitted under international law to take military action against Syria even if such a move was blocked by the UN Security Council."
Of course they are. They're the ones who wrote those laws in the first place. Their law, but everyone else must follow them. But of course, they themselves can get exemption when the special circumstance arises, because, well, they're also the enforcers. Everybody must live by their, ugh, I mean international, rules!



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