China defends Syria veto, doubts West's intentions

February 6, 2012 06:29

BEIJING - China's state-run media on Monday defended the government's rejection of a UN resolution pressing Syrian President Bashar Assad to abandon power, saying Western intervention in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq showed the error of forced regime change.

The People's Daily, the top newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, set out in a commentary the clearest defence of the decision to join Russia at the weekend in vetoing a draft UN resolution that would have backed an Arab plan urging Assad to quit after months of worsening bloodshed.

The newspaper suggested that Chinese distrust of Western intervention lay behind the veto, which drew condemnation from Western governments with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling it a "travesty."

"The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate and numbers of civilian casualties keep rising," the newspaper, which echoes government thinking, said in the commentary.

"Vetoing the draft Security Council resolution does not mean we are giving free rein to letting this heart-rending state of affairs continue."

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