China's stance on Syria 'consistent'

Updated: 2012-02-21 18:25


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BEIJING - China said Tuesday that its stance on Syria remains "consistent and clear."

"We've been closely following the developments of the situation, and we are deeply worried about the escalating crisis that has caused civilian casualties and affected peace and stability in the region," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Hong made the remarks during a regular press briefing in response to a question about whether China has changed its stance on the Syria issue.

He urged all relevant parties to immediately launch inclusive political dialogue with no preconditions and jointly discuss a comprehensive political reform plan.

Hong said China holds the view that the international community should fully respect Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity, territorial integrity and the independent choice of the Syrian people, as well as the results of the political dialogue among various parties in Syria.

"We do not approve an armed intervention or forcing a so-called 'regime change' in Syria," the spokesman reiterated.

Hong said China supports Arab countries' calls to immediately cease violence, protect Syrian civilians, offer humanitarian aid to Syria and oppose external military intervention, adding that China hopes the issue will be resolved through political dialogue within the framework of the Arab League (AL).

"China will work together with the international community and play a positive and constructive role in appropriately resolving the issues in Syria," Hong said.

The spokesman also confirmed the receipt of an invitation for China to participate in a "Friends of Syria" meeting scheduled for next week in Tunis. He did not say whether China will attend.

"China welcomes all efforts that will be conducive to a peaceful resolution to the Syria issue," Hong said, noting that the purpose and mechanism of the "Friends of Syria" meeting requires further examination.