China welcomes Syria joining chemical arms pact

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it welcomed a decision by Syria to join the global anti-chemical weapons treaty.

The United Nations said it received a document from Syria on joining the pact, a move Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised as part of a deal to avoid US air strikes.

The move would end Syria's status as one of only seven nations outside the 1997 international convention that outlaws stockpiling chemical weapons. Other holdouts include Syria's neighbours Egypt and Israel, as well as North Korea.