• Wed
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 9:49pm

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 Xinhua quoted a trade official as saying that Chinese oil companies had also withdrawn their staff.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


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Intercepted phone calls indicate Syrian government did not order attack. A possible military action - it a false step and a bad example. Where's this going? An ancient vision says: "At the appointed time [the king of the north] will return back [the return of Russia in this context means crisis, which will eclipse the Great Depression. Not only the eurozone will break up, but also the European Union and NATO. Then many countries of the former Eastern block will return to Russia's zone of influence. Russian troops will be stationed here again]. "And will enter into the south [Georgia], but it will not be as the former [1921] or as the latter [2008], for the dwellers of coastlands of Kittim [the West] will come against him, and he will be dejected, and will go back." (Daniel 11:29-30a)
Moses writes: "But ships from the direction of Kittim [from the West], and troubling Asshur [Russia] and troubling Eber [remaining enemies, including Iran and China]." (Numbers 24:24a)
This will be a nuclear war. (Revelation 6:4)
In 1882 British troops occupied Egypt. Great Britain then took the role of "the king of the south". Around the same time, Russia expanded its influence in the region, which previously belonged to Seleucus I Nicator, and took the role of "the king of the north". (Daniel 11:27)
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
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
So, you mean the opposition used the chem weapons to drag the West in, to save their bacon? Is it ok for anyone to use such weapons against innocents? Is there anyone out there who will stop this abomination? The US, UK and France are the only countries with the guts to say enough is enough.
Just to fill in your ignorance. The last UN report indicated that it was the opposition that used Chemical weapons and the very next day the US issue a "intelligence" report that they got evidence that Assads forces was the one that used Chemical weapons. Perfect timing eh?
Maybe the Obama administration will be smart enough to claim that they found Chemical weapons in Syria that belong to Saddam, so they can continue to shamelessly tell and act that they did the right thing, and of course no fabricated evidence what so ever.
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.




SCMP.com Account