China condemns US-led airstrikes in Syria, calls for restraint and dialogue

China condemns US-led airstrikes in Syria, calls for restraint and dialogue
China opposes military action in Syria and instead urges diplomacy to solve the political crisis, according to a foreign ministry response in the wake of US-led airstrikes.

US, UK and French jets launched airstrikes on Syria early Saturday after accusations that forces commanded by President Bashar Assad carried out a chemical attack in Douma last week. The Syrian government has denied using such weapons.

In an effort to diffuse the ongoing crisis, China’s Foreign Ministry has called for roundtable talks and an impartial investigation into the Douma incident. China, which last week warned against military intervention in Syria, also labelled Saturday’s airstrikes a violation of international law.

The ministry added that officials based in their Syrian Embassy in Damascus were unharmed during the early morning bombings.

READ MORE: ‘Crucial crossroads’: Beijing warns against military intervention in Syria

“As always, we oppose the use of force in international relations and call for respect for other countries’ sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Any unilateral military action bypassing the Security Council runs contrary to the purpose and principles of the UN charter and violates the principles of international law… and will further complicate the Syrian issue,” a spokesperson for the Chinese government said.

“China urges the relevant parties to return to the framework of international law and resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation,” they added. “China believes that political settlement is the only viable way out for the Syrian issue.”

The airstrikes launched just hours before the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was due to deploy to Douma to investigate reports of a chemical attack.

On Friday evening, after Trump announced strikes on Syria, the White House said it had “assessed with confidence” that Damascus was behind the alleged gas attack in Douma, using information gleaned on social media and “reliable intelligence.”

READ MORE: White House cites social media, open-source outlets in US assessment of alleged Douma attack

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