The Chinese government said it will send a diplomat to crisis-torn Syria in an effort to put an end to the nearly year-long rebellion and government crackdown that has claimed at least 7,500 lives.
According to the foreign ministry in Beijing, Li Huaxin, China’s former ambassador to Damascus, will make a two-day visit commencing on Tuesday and will offer a six-point plan as a framework for the resolution to the violence in Syria.
The six-point proposal, which Chinese officials spelled out over the weekend, warned western and other powers not to “interfere” in internal Syrian affairs, while urging both Assad and the Syrian opposition to immediately, fully and unconditionally cease hostilities.
China, along with Russia, has repeatedly thwarted moves by western and Arab nations to condemn the brutal regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but may now be feeling the pressure to take a more proactive role in bringing peace to the increasingly isolated Middle Eastern nation.
Liu Weimin, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said in a press briefing in Beijing: Currently the situation in Syria continues to heat up and become more serious. The conflicts between various parties in Syria remain stark, and the international community has differing views on how to ease the Syrian crisis as quickly as possible.
Liu added: Although conditions are extremely complicated, and the situation remains tense, China still maintains that a political solution offers the fundamental escape from the Syrian crisis. China believes that based on recent developments and changes in Syria, it is necessary for us to further explain our policies and proposals.”
However, envoy Li made a similar trip to Syria last month that provided no peace dividends.
Nonetheless, spokesman Liu added: As long as there is one ray of hope, China will make a hundredfold efforts.”
It will be interesting to see if China takes a more aggressive role in the Syrian, given that it abstained for the United Nations resolution on a military intervention on Libya (a step that Beijing officials believed violated UN mandates).
Indeed, over the weekend, a statement by the Chinese government on Syria alluded to the Libyan situation.
China does not approve of armed interference or pushing for 'regime change' in Syria, and believes that use or threat of sanctions does not help to resolve this issue appropriately, the statement declared.
An editorial in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper expressed skepticism that Chinese diplomacy will do any good in Syria.
“A new Chinese draft resolution to end the violence in Syria does not say anything new beyond what was already proposed and rejected by the 'official' Syrian opposition,” the piece stated.
“The latest events indicate that the opposition does not have any practical options that will bring about Assad’s fall. Thus, the Free Syrian Army was resigned to withdraw from the Baba Amr quarter in Homs, to retreat from the Rastan neighborhood on the outskirts of Damascus, and it seems that even the intention to open a military front in Daraa will lead to failure due to a large concentration of the Syrian army, which according to reports from Daraa, is planning to retake the city on March 15.”