China offers token aid to Syria, stance on Assad unmoved

March 14, 2012 05:59


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BEIJING - China will offer $2 million in humanitarian assistance to Syria through the Red Cross, state media said on Wednesday, another gesture aimed at repairing relationships in the Middle East, though its stance on Syria shows no sign of changing.

Beijing wants to counter accusations from Western and Arab leaders that it, along with Russia, abetted expanding violence by President Bashar Assad's forces against civilians by vetoing two UN resolutions on the crisis.

Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Ming, who was sent by Beijing to Egypt this month as an envoy to discuss the crisis in Syria, made the offer of emergency humanitarian aid as a way of "expressing the sympathy and concern of the Chinese people."

China and Russia have blocked moves in the United Nations to censure Assad, a position which met with international outrage. They have also welcomed the Syrian leader's reform pledges, including a promised election.

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