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3 Sep, 2013

China: Unilateral military action will only make Syrian situation worse


Beijing, (Xinhua) September 02, 2013 – Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday that China was seriously concerned about any unilateral military action against Syria.

At a regular press briefing, Hong said, “China is firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons by any party in Syria and expresses serious concern about preparations by relevant countries for unilateral military action.”

Hong said the United States has explained to China its evidence relating to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“Any action by the international community should respect the rules of the UN Charter and basic rules of international relations,” Hong said, adding that taking actions should avoid further complicating the Syria issue and avoid bringing more disaster to the Middle East.

China supports the UN Secretariat in carrying out an independent, objective and professional investigation on the alleged use of chemical weapons in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.

Hong said that no side should rush to pre-judge the results of an investigation by UN chemical weapons experts in Syria, saying that a political solution is the only practical way to solve the issue.

Chinese Experts: US unwise to wage war on Assad

By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)

September 02, 2013 – A US military strike against Syria, if implemented, would be the “most directionless” action taken by Washington in its Middle East policies over the past six decades, Chinese observers said.

Ye Hailin, an expert on Middle East studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said such an attack would be illogical and not in line with US interests in the region.

“This is the most directionless move in Washington’s Middle East policies since Britain and France retreated from the region after World War II,” Ye said.

“The Obama administration reached the conclusion that Syria used chemical weapons, although it did not send investigators there. Also, its judgment was based on video footage, not on uncontaminated physical evidence,” he said.

Meanwhile, UN investigators are still working on samples collected at the scene and have not yet reached a conclusion, Ye said.

“And now that the Obama administration says it has reliable intelligence that 1,429 people died in the chemical onslaught, where are the bodies?”

Ye added that a limited strike from the US will by no means stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria, if the allegation is true.

The strike is also meaningless in terms of ending the rule of the Syrian government, he said.

“Besides, Barack Obama is unlikely to get UN authorization or support from most other countries,” Ye said.

“Actually, Obama does not want to launch the strike. However, the hawkish stance of interest groups in Washington and some senior US diplomats, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have exerted much pressure on him.”

Yin Gang, also an expert on Middle East studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Obama is not “seeking” approval from Congress.

“He will only have to launch the attack if Congress approves,” Yin said, adding that the US Congress cannot limit the right of the president to launch such an attack.

A war with Syria would drag Washington into further confrontations with various sections of Islam and heighten tensions in the Middle East — a situation Washington will not want to see, Yin said.

“That is why Obama just wants a limited strike, if he has to launch one.”

Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters that Obama’s decision “to get Congress on board when he hasn’t had a huge amount of success working with Congress strikes me as a gamble”.

A failed vote, he said, “could shadow the rest of the administration”.

Mo Jingxi contributed to this story.