All of the major Chinese news organizations railed against military action, saying Syria could turn into another Iraq. The Chinese also said they were not convinced that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against its own people, as asserted by the White House.In a statement posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website, Foreign Minister Wang Yi implied that Beijing would exercise its veto power on a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force. The point is somewhat moot because Russia already has said it would block such a resolution.
"External military intervention is contrary to the U.N. charter aims and the basic norms governing international relations and could exacerbate instability in the Middle East," Wang said.
"Turning Syria into another Libya or even Iraq is the last thing most people around the world want to see," opined the English-language China Daily in a strongly worded editorial on Thursday. "Before the crisis takes a turn for from bad to worse, it is high time the U.S. learned from its past mistakes."Chinese scholars pointed to the errors of U.S. intelligence in 2003 claiming that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.
"Who used the chemical weapons in Syria isn’t clear,"’ said Li Wei, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Security and Arms Control Studies at a briefing for journalists Thursday.
China is Syria’s largest trade partner, with exports from China totaling $2.4 billion in 2011. But analysts said economic relations with Syria, which has modest oil reserves, were not a primary factor in Beiking's opposition to military action.Yin Gang, a widely quoted Middle East expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said airstrikes against Assad’s regime would strengthen the hand of Al Qaeda and other Islamic militants.
"A democratic Christian country should not be interfering in an Islamic civil war. It would be a big mistake," Yin said.