By Horace Lu
A delegation of Syrian opposition groups visited Beijing earlier this week and met with Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed. This is the first contact reported by the Chinese government since violence broke out in the Middle Eastern country.
“China is in contacts and communication with all the relevant parties in Syria, including the opposition groups,” said Liu Weimin, foreign ministry spokesperson at a regular press briefing Thursday. “We are willing to actively push for peace and dialogue. We have done a lot of work to alleviate the situation in Syria. China is willing to maintain contacts and communication with relevant Syrian groups and make persisting efforts to peacefully and properly resolve the Syria crisis in the future.”
“The reasonable aspiration of the Syrian people for reform and protect their own interests should be respected. The Syrian government should fulfill their commitment to reform, start an inclusive political process that involves all the relevant parties as soon as possible, and resolve problems and disputes through dialogue and negotiation,” added Liu.
China and Russia incurred the wrath of the Arab League, Europe and the United States for their veto of a UN Security Council resolution urging Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Deputy foreign minister Cui Tiankai said China has always been “responsible and cautious” in its use of the veto at the UN Security Council.
“Don’t expect China to always abstain from the vote. When it comes to the occasion in which a veto is necessary, China will definitely do it without hesitation and please do not have any illusions about it,” he said.