Strike against Assad would also deter North Korea, US tells China
Teddy Ng and Wu Nan
The US called on China to support military action against Syria yesterday, saying the move was crucial to deter North Korea from developing chemical weapons.
The call was made as China reiterated its stance on solving the Syrian crisis through political means, and as a Syrian opposition group arrived in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials.
The opposition group, which the Chinese Foreign Ministry named in Chinese as the "All-Nation Union for Dialogue", had been invited by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. "China is proactively working with parties related to Syria in a balanced manner, and working hard to push for a political solution to the Syrian issue," Hong said.
US President Barack Obama is soliciting support both at home and abroad for a military strike against Syria, accusing the government of Bashar al-Assad of using sarin gas to kill more than 1,400 people on August 21.
Also in Beijing, US Undersecretary of Defence James Miller told Lieutentant General Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of general staff for the People's Liberation Army, that preventing the use of chemical weapons should be a common goal of both nations. Miller said he presented "clear evidence" that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons, and that China's security would be at risk if nothing were done.
"I emphasised the massive chemical weapons arsenal that North Korea has and that we didn't want to live in a world in which North Korea felt that the threshold for chemical weapons usage had been lowered," Miller said after the talks.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his US counterpart John Kerry on Monday that the US should "think twice" before taking military action, and President Xi Jinping told Obama that a military strike could not solve the problem.