In the first Chinese commentary after the weekend visit by Deputy Foreign Minister Zhai Jun to Damascus as president Hu Jintao’s special envoy, Beijing has ‘hardened’ its stance on Syria. The commentary appeared in today’s China Daily. The salients are as follows:
1. China’s and Russia’s veto of the UN Security Council resolution and the rejection of the subsequent UN GA resolution factored in that they might pave the way for outside intervention in Syria. The veto doesn’t mean China is favoring the Syrian government or that it is indifferent to the violence. But the priority is to ensure Syria doesn’t “end up on the same disastrous road as Libya.”
2. National sovereignty is a core principle for China. And the human rights issue is used by the West as pretext to pursue global or regional strategic interests.
3. The West’s “furious response” to the Chinese and Russian veto exposes its intention to dominate the Middle East and “monopolise” the UN.
4. The “intense and sharp contradictions in the Arab world” are also to be traced to the West’s ‘divide-and-conquer’ approach to the Middle East region.
5.. The Syrian crisis is not an issue of human rights alone. “The West wants to topple the Syrian government and replace it with a pro-Western one. Syria is considered a problem in the West’s Middle East strategy because of its close relations with Iran and Lebanon, which are hostile to the United States.”
6. The Arab League is playing second fiddle to the West’s Middle East strategy. The West’s “next target, no doubt, will be Iran.”
7. The Cold-War paradigm of western powers aligning against the “non-western world” continues and the “balance of power” between the US and the “non-western world” needs a “counterweight”.
8. Washington’s “hysterical reaction” to China’s veto shows it has not “adapted to China’s change”. China’s development will continue and China will be assertive as one of the P-5.
Once again, China has bracketed its veto with Russia’s. The reference to the ‘counterweight’ echoes the Global Times commentary
on January 20 regarding a China-Russia alliance. The China Daily commentary is here