China blames West for failure on Syrian crisis

August 4, 2012 - 6:37 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China said Saturday that the West should be blamed for obstructing a diplomatic and political solution to Syria's crisis because it advocated regime change, dismissing criticism by the United States and others that China and Russia have hindered peace efforts.

China and Russia have repeatedly used their veto power at the U.N. Security Council to block strong Western- and Arab-backed action against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Moscow is a key ally of Assad, and China cites its stance against military intervention.

On Friday, the two governments were again left looking isolated after they refused to support a symbolic U.N. resolution condemning the Syrian government for its crackdown on dissent. The resolution was approved by an overwhelming vote of 133-12; China was in the small minority that voted "no."

On Saturday, China said it voted in the true interest of the Syrian people, and, in its strongest rhetoric so far regarding the civil war, accused Western nations of sabotaging peace efforts by advocating regime change.

"We are opposed to intervention in domestic affairs, imposition of regime change and support for military interference," said Long Zhou, a counselor in the Foreign Ministry's division for international conventions and organizations.

"The countries with such acts and remarks should rethink what role they have played and who indeed has been the obstacle in resolving the Syrian crisis," Long told a news conference, arranged unusually with just a few hours' notice.

Although the Chinese officials didn't mention the United States by name, their charges apparently targeted Washington, which has openly said Assad needs to go.

Western nations' stance on Syria is driven by their geo-political interest while China has no ulterior motive but respects the will of the Syrian people in deciding the country's future, another foreign ministry official, Wang Kejian, a deputy director of north African and west Asian affairs, told reporters.

Wang reiterated China's stance that the solution to the Syria crisis should be a political one and its opposition to any military intervention.

The news conference followed a written statement by the ministry that said criticisms of China by some Western nations are contrary to the facts and ill-intended.

China voted against Friday's non-binding U.N. resolution along with Russia, Syria, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Belarus, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Venezuela.