Asian govts slam use of chemical weapons

Demonstrators protesting against the US-led strikes on Syria in front of the White House in Washington on Saturday. The bombings struck at the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons programme in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack on April 7.
Demonstrators protesting against the US-led strikes on Syria in front of the White House in Washington on Saturday. The bombings struck at the heart of Syria’s chemical weapons programme in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack on April 7.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
British Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce and her US counterpart Nikki Haley voting during a UN Security Council meeting held in New York on Saturday to discuss the strikes in Syria.
British Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce and her US counterpart Nikki Haley voting during a UN Security Council meeting held in New York on Saturday to discuss the strikes in Syria.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TOKYO/JAKARTA • Countries in Asia condemned the use of chemical weapons in the war in Syria, with some calling for restraint in response to the US-led strikes against Damascus.

The United States, France and Britain on Saturday launched missile attacks that struck at the heart of Syria's chemical weapons programme in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack on April 7.

The bombings, denounced by Damascus and its allies, marked the biggest intervention by Western countries against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russia.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Tokyo supported the decision to launch the strikes in response to the suspected poison gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma.

"The Japanese government supports the resolve of the United States, Britain and France not to allow the proliferation or use of chemical weapons," Kyodo news agency cited Mr Abe as telling reporters in Tokyo.

"We understand this action to be a measure taken to prevent the situation from worsening further."

China said it was "opposed to the use of force" in international relations, and called for a political solution and a "return to the framework of international law".

South Korea yesterday repeated its condemnation of the alleged chemical attack by Syria's government against rebel forces, Yonhap news agency reported.

"We strongly condemn (Syria's suspected action) under the position that the proliferation and use of chemical weapons cannot, under any circumstances, be tolerated because they threaten the peace and security of the international community," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Indonesia's Foreign Ministry on Saturday released an official statement on its website calling on all parties to "show restraint and prevent the situation in Syria deteriorating further".

"Indonesia underlines the need for all parties to respect international law and norms, in particular the UN Charter on international peace and security," the ministry said, according to the Jakarta Post.

The government previously denounced the chemical weapons attack in Syria. It also expressed concern for the safety of civilians and called for a comprehensive resolution to the conflict.

Malaysia's Foreign Ministry yesterday also condemned "in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons, by anyone, under any circumstances", reported The Star.

It also raised concerns over the US-led strikes, saying that it believed all parties should act in a manner consistent with the United Nations Charter and international law.

"In this regard, Malaysia believes that no military solution can bring an end to the conflict in Syria. We urge all parties involved to find a political solution through dialogue and negotiations," it added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2018, with the headline 'Asian govts slam use of chemical weapons'. Print Edition | Subscribe