China calls for calm after US missile strikes, asks for UN probe into Syria chemical attack
China’s reaction came in the backdrop of a summit between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump at a Florida resort.world Updated: May 04, 2017 09:26 IST
China on Friday stopped short of directly criticising the US for carrying out a military strike in war-torn Syria, calling instead for calm and restraint and emphasising the need for a “political settlement” to resolve the six-year crisis.
China’s reaction came in the backdrop of a summit between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump at a Florida resort and gave rise to the question whether the US leader had spoken to his Chinese counterpart before launching the tomahawk missiles.
“China all along opposes use of force and maintains peaceful means in settling issues. We hope all parties stay calm exercise restraint,” was as far as Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson, said at the regular ministry briefing on Friday.
China has mostly sided with Russia on the Syria crisis, especially blocking UN Security Council (UNSC) actions.
Hua said the five members of the UNSC — US, China, Russia, UK and France – were “engaged in close consultations and communications on relevant matters”. She said China hoped that “relevant parties stay calm, exercise restraint and avoid doing anything that might raise tensions”.
“The latest developments in Syria again speak to the urgent need for a political settlement to resolve the Syria issue.
“We call on all relevant parties to resolutely stick to promoting a political settlement and not abandon efforts to find a political settlement.”
On the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, which the US has said triggered the decision to launch the missiles, Hua said China was in favour of an evidence-based impartial UN probe into the allegation.
“China’s position on the issue of chemical weapons is consistent. We oppose the use of chemical weapons by any country, organisation or individual under any circumstance or for any purpose,” Hua said, adding: “We condemn the chemical attack.”
“We support relevant UN agencies in conducting and independent and comprehensive investigation on the use or supposed use chemical weapons and on the basis of solid evidence...that stands the test of history and facts.
“What is urgent now is to prevent further deterioration and uphold the hard-won political process to settle Syrian issue,” she said.
On the Xi-Trump meeting, she said: “We hope the meeting will enhance mutual understanding between the two leaders and chart the course for future China-US relations...Of course, they will discuss most pressing and urgent international issues.”