Beijing has turned down the invitation to the first meeting of the so-called ‘Friends of Syria’ [FOS] in Tunis on Friday. China joins Russia and Iran, among the main players in the Syrian crisis, in the refusal to identify with FOS. Beijing’s reasons are virtually the same as Moscow’s, namely, skepticism about the FOS’s intentions.
Wu Sike, China’s Middle East special envoy who is currently touring the region spoke to Xinhua on Syria. Wu said China’s position has been “consistent” — namely, Arab people’s desire for reform should be respected; China opposes any foreign intervention; China believes that Arab people left to themselves have the ability to solve their problems wisely.
Wu implied that FOS has no role. He said China’s stance on Syria is no different from its path ever since Arab Spring appeared. Wu claimed that ME capitals he visited — Ramallah, Tel Aviv and Amman — have shown understanding for China’s position on Syria; voiced opposition to foreign intervention; and agreed that a peaceful solution should be found to the crisis.
The Chinese assessment of the ground situation is broadly similar to Russia’s. Citing unnamed ‘analysts’, Xinhua commented that the situation is worsening “due to intervention from the United States and other Western and Arab countries”. It referred to FOS’s agenda at Tunis being to “unify the opposition groups as a strong force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”
– February 23, 2012