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Syrian conflict

Syrian conflict can only be solved through political means, says Beijing

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, however, makes no strongly worded response to US missile attack on Syrian airbase

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 April, 2017, 4:58pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 April, 2017, 5:10pm

Beijing on Friday urged parties using political means to settle the Syrian conflict to stop the situation deteriorating further after the US launched a massive missile attack on a Syrian government airbase.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing that measures should be taken to contain tensions facing the war-torn nation, but stopped short of making a strongly worded response to the US action.

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“China supports resolving the Syrian issue through political means,” she said. “All parties should not give up efforts to use political ways to solve the crisis.”

Hua said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was elected by the nation’s people, and the choice of Syrians should be respected.

Beijing opposed the use of chemical weapons by any government or organisation, she added.

Beijing’s position on Syria has not been entirely clear, but it has teamed up with Moscow to veto any UN resolution proposals drafted and sponsored by Western nations to sanction the Assad government since the country’s civil war broke out six years ago.

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Unlike Russia, which has carried out air strikes against opponents of the Assad regime, including Islamic State and nominally pro-Western Kurds and other rebel groups, Beijing has tried to keep a safe distance from the armed conflict. Beijing insisted that the fate of the Assad regime should be decided by the Syrian people and opposed interference by foreign powers.