The Straits Times
Published on Sep 05, 2012

China says it supports political 'transition' in Syria


BEIJING (AFP) - China said on Wednesday it supported a political transition in Syria and was not attached to President Bashar al-Assad as it defended its record during a visit by United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mrs Clinton, meeting in Beijing with the country's top leadership, reiterated she was "disappointed" by the vetoes of China and Russia of UN resolutions that would have threatened action against Assad to end the spiralling bloodshed.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi called for all sides to end fighting, telling a joint news conference with Mrs Clinton: "Let me emphasise that China is not partial to any individual or any party."

Mr Yang called on all nations to exert "a positive influence" to persuade the sides in Syria "to adopt a realistic, calm and constructive attitude so that there can be an early beginning of political dialogue and transition". But he warned against the use of outside force to end the conflict that activists say has killed more than 26,000 people - a sensitive notion for one-party China.