Chinese Envoy: Veto aimed at Protecting Syria from Civil War

The USG Open Source Center translates from the Chinese an article that includes an explanation of China’s veto of a new UN Security Council resolution on Syria. Special envoy on Middle Eastern affairs Wu Sike explains that China feared the resolution would push Syria into a full-fledged civil war. He said he also wanted to avoid another Iraq or Libya fiasco. This is the first time I’ve seen either Russia ore China give the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq as a reason for their opposition to further Western intervention in the Middle East. The chickens are coming home to roost. Bush and Cheney thought that they were nailing down another American century, but they may have been hastening the demise of that whole notion.

‘Exclusive’ Interview With PRC Special Envoy: Veto ‘To Safeguard’ Syrian Interests…
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

Beijing, 7 Feb (Xinhua) — “Proceeding from Syria’s actual conditions, China vetoed the UN Security Council draft resolution on the Syrian issue, to safeguard the fundamental interests of Syria and its people,” Wu Sike, Chinese special envoy on the Middle East issue, said during an interview with Xinhua reporters.

On 4 February, China and Russia voted against the UN Security Council draft resolution on the Syrian issue submitted by Morocco and drafted by Western countries and some relevant Arab states. This was the second time that China and Russia voted against a draft resolution on the Syrian issue subsequent to their veto of the draft resolution on the Syrian issue submitted to the UN Security Council by France, Britain, and other European countries on 4 October last year.

Wu Sike said: Respecting a country’s sovereignty is the basic principle of the UN Charter. China has always observed and stressed this principle in dealing with international affairs. The Syrian issue is, in essence, an internal affair of that country. Syria’s development and reforms should be decided by the Syrian people. External forces should not exceed their functions to interfere. Otherwise, this will be violating Syria’s sovereignty and disrespecting the Syrian people.

He noted that finding solutions to the Syrian issue must proceed from Syria’s actual conditions. He visited Syria after the UN Security Council voted on the Syrian issue on 4 0ctober last year. During his visit, he conducted in-depth conversations with leaders of the two opposition organizations. They said that they understood China’s veto and explained that if external interference was allowed, be it the Iraq type of land attacks or the Libya form of air strikes, the ultimate victims will be Syria and its people. Resolving the Syrian crisis through its own efforts may be a little slow and take longer, but it involves much smaller risks and aftermaths. In the long run, this conforms with the interests of Syria and its people.

Wu Sike stressed: As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is a responsible country. China supports an “early initiation of an inclusive political process led by the Syrian people and participated by various parties, peacefully resolving conflicts through dialogues and consultations to restore Syria’s situation to normal as early as possible.” He added: “Some Western media reports assert that China and Russia are supporting ‘dictatorship.’ This is misleading and confusing the essence of the issue. On the contrary, China is safeguarding the entire interests of the Syrian people, instead of protecting one side and opposing the other.” Time and history will make a fair judgment, he said.

Wu Sike said that he held a meeting with Arab League Secretary General Araby in Cairo in the second half of December last year, during which he stressed that China supported the idea of resolving the Syrian issue under the Arab League framework. Syria and its people as well as the Arab League should be the main factors in resolving the Syrian issue, whereas the international community should do something positive and useful to push the work forward and play a constructive role, instead of imposing measures on a country.

When commenting on China’s veto of the current draft resolution that includes the Arab League’s new proposal, Wu Sike pointed out: China supports the Arab League’s efforts within its framework to promote dialogues between the relevant parties. But the UN Charter and UN regulations must be respected when doing something under the UN framework. It would be unreasonable for the United Nations to accept any proposal just because it is put forth by the Arab League.

Wu Sike noted that the Syrian crisis involves the stability of the entire region. He called on the relevant parties to sensibly consider problems and respect the civilians’ demands for reforms, development, and progress. He added: In the next step, China will continue to maintain contact s and communication with the Syrian authorities, the opposition factions, Arab states, the Arab League, and various relevant parties, promote dialogues between various Syrian factions to prevent the use of violence, reduce casualties among the innocent civilians, peacefully resolve the crisis, and bring about security and stability in Syria and this region. This is not only conducive to creating welfare for the Syrian and Middle East people, but also greatly beneficial to world peace and development.

(Description of Source: Beijing Xinhua Asia-Pacific Service in Chinese — China’s official news service (New China News Agency) to the Asia-Pacific region, established to replace Xinhua Hong Kong Service. The new service includes material previously carried by Xinhua Hong Kong Service and additional material specific to the Asia-Pacific region)

16 Responses

  1. You gotta love the Great Game, and all the Statecraft that machiavellis along with it.

    Dare one ask exactly what, in this text, is so offensive as to be killed by supposed “national interests,” or even the “sweet reason,” carefully scripted BS excreted by SE Wu Sike?

    One might guess that the anathematical part is that the whole notion of one set of “states” telling the dictator of another state and his party and enforcers that they need to stand down and share, might in a tiny way point to and move toward the awakening notions of so many of the 99% of us, that we are being had, big time, and killed and circumscribed and drained of wealth and hope by the activities of Experienced Players, who pay the faintest lip service to the general welfare (as opposed to the Welfare of the Generals) while protecting what are pretty clearly short-term interests of a few Kleptocrats and Oligarchs.

    The world may actually be flattening out, in richer ways than the notions of Thomas Friedman and the Vulture Capitalists, and be getting better interconnected. One downbeat of that condition is that there seems to be a spreading basic notion of what constitutes a decent, honorable life and the minimum criteria for sustainability.

    Dangerous stuff for the Assads and Arafats and even our own American Kleptocratic Aristocracy to contend with.

    But of course there’s a nearly infinite set of interactions at play in all this, and so many ways to look through the prism…

    Old joke: How do you catch an elephant? Well, you need three things: binoculars, tweezers, and a milk bottle. Go down to the watering hole, get up in a tree, and wait for the elephants to come down to drink. Then you look at an elephant through the wrong end of the binocular, reach out with the tweezers, pick up the elephant and drop it in the milk bottle. Easy, no?

  2. I’m perfectly happy to blame Bush/Cheney for everything from the financial meltdown to toe fungus, but the Chinese envoy is just blowing smoke when he points to Iraq as the reason for his government’s opposition to UN action.

    Chinese and Russian opposition to international action to protect the human rights of those being oppressed by their government is par for the course, their standard operating procedure. Libya was a fluke, their decision to remain silent a huge departure from their ordinary behavior. For China and Russia to block action against Syria is just a reversion to their norm.

  3. Obviously China (and probably Russia as well) are worried about the precedent of UN approval of foreign intervention when a dictatorship carries out bloody repression of opposition to the regime. The precedent might apply to them!

  4. “He said he also wanted to avoid another Iraq or Libya fiasco. This is the first time I’ve seen either Russia ore China give the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq as a reason for their opposition to further Western intervention in the Middle East. The chickens are coming home to roost. Bush and Cheney thought that they were nailing down another American century, but they may have been hastening the demise of that whole notion.”

    Please note that the Chinese envoy placed the Western intervention in Libya along with that in Iraq. There are enough reasons one can oppose the intervention in Iraq without resorting to the self-serving statement of the Chinese envoy to support one’s position. Would you re-think your position on the Western intervention in Libya because China links it to that in Iraq? Of course not.

    China supports repressive dictatorships such as Assad’s because it perceives it in its interest to do so. China opposes Western intervention because it fears (probably correctly) that it will result in reduced Chinese influence. Let’s not make China out to be some moral arbiter of “good” and “bad” interventions.

    • I’ll meet you half way, but China has the advantage of not
      having for the past few decades comitted periodic wholesale imperial violence, ovethrowing governments and the like,on the opposite side of the globe from its natural borders, even if those borders some regional antagonists might justly or unjustly put into question.

      • Well sure, they’ve had America doing it for them. But China still benefits. You think China doesn’t worry about Islamists? Or heroin smuggling from Afghanistan? When China’s ideology-free cynicism leads them to oppose every popular uprising and every attempt at political change because it upsets Chinese shipping contracts, they are very happy to often share the interests of America, a declining status-quo power afraid of futher change.

        The day will come when China will exert itself as a military power, and we will have to live with it because we made it so goddam easy by wasting our power on paranoid delusions. At that point, will we prefer a China that defends the status quo everywhere, or attacks it everywhere?

        • Also made it goddam easy, by some very profitable “transfer of technology” via various routes, to “our next natural opponent.” Including, as someone here pointed out, by giving Israel air defense technology that the Israeli military industrialists turned around and sold to the Chinese government. And of course “our” brilliant war toy labs, that seem impervious to larger common sense but porous to espionage by nominal “friends” and of course industrial freebie-seekers and “furriners.”

          It’s just business, you know. And of course “we,” for short-term benefits to the careers of a few of us, train and educate and otherwise pump energy into various parts of the complex organism that is the Chinese polity.

          It’s pretty clear that none of us, taken as a species, can manage to do any better.

          Though Saint Reagan and Gorbachev agreed that the Implacable Cold War Foes would make common cause against a common enemy (in the form of some invading alien life form.) link to blog.nationmultimedia.com

          Why would a presumably “advanced” bunch of aliens, having conquered interstellar travel, INVADE? Why not just wait for us Dumb Effing Humans to reduce ourselves back to impoverished neolithicism, as we sure seem on the path to do?

  5. I’m sorry, but aren’t the Chinese as vulnerable on this point as Assad? Doesn’t what they have been doing in Tibet for some time also fall under the definitions you mention?

  6. Hypocritical is taking that one sentence out of context, presenting it as the totality of Professor Cole’s position on the Iraq War at the time, and then complaining about memory holes.

    • That was trolling. Sorry it got through.

      I did not support the Bush administration invasion and occupation of Iraq, because there was no UN Security Council resolution permitting it, and I said so repeatedly at the time.

      The quote about the thousands of US troops losing their lives, which I foresaw, addressed the question of whether, since it was an illegal war, their sacrifice would have been altogether for naught. I was trying to find some grounds for saying it wouldn’t be. That is different from supporting the war.

      • but you don’t argue with the section of your wiki entry?

        “On the day of the U.S. invasion, however, Cole endorsed the war, writing that “for all the concerns one might have about the aftermath, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides.”[50] Later he tried to dissociate himself from either pro-war or anti-war stances, stating that he had “mixed feelings” on the issue. (I.e., he opposed Saddam Hussein’s regime, but feared disaster.)[51]”

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        • Is that the best anyone can do by way of cross-examination and impeachment of Prof. Cole? However much one might prefer his bona fides and contributions to be zeroed out, his Google footprint seems a bit more substantive and honest than, say, your own…

  7. “The Syrian issue is, in essence, an internal affair of that country. Syria’s development and reforms should be decided by the Syrian people. External forces should not exceed their functions to interfere. Otherwise, this will be violating Syria’s sovereignty and disrespecting the Syrian people.”

    There are rumors that the Russians are selling weapons to the Syrian regime. Or are there the Americans selling weapons of Russian manufacture through their Israeli correspondents?
    Why is it that every time I want to find political excuses for the disrespect of human rights, I find myself spinning around in a vortex?

  8. Thanks for posting this translation. Good to see the world from the other side’s perspective once in a while — whether you agree with the view or not (seek first to understand).

  9. Sounds like North Korean chatter. And I betting they are protecting “their” Tibet as well.

Comments are closed.