China expressed its opposition towards military action in Syria during a briefing prior to the official start of the meeting of world leaders at the G20 Summit at St. Petersburg on Thursday. China is concerned that such action could hurt the world economy.
Military action to raise oil price
According to Chinese Vic-Finance Minister, Zhu Guangyao, “Military action would have negative impact on the global economy especially on the oil price. It will cause a hike in the oil price.”
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In Beijing, Hong Lei, spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry restated the country’s position regarding the issue. He said that a unilateral military action is a violation of international law and would complicate the conflict, but he emphasized that any party using chemical warfare should accept responsibility.
China and Russia oppose air strikes on Syria
China’s position on Syria underpins the objective of Russian President Vladimir Putin to convince United States President Barack Obama to drop his plan to launch air strikes.
According to Putin, Russia will consider any strike on Syria without the support of the United Nations as an act of aggression, and it will not stand by if it occurs. He emphasized, “We have our ideas about what we will do and how we will do it in case the situation develops toward the use of force.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Putin said Russia will not discount supporting a resolution from the United Nations for a military action on Syria, if it will present evidences that will prove that the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons. However, he emphasized that he remains unconvinced by the U.S. Intelligence. Russia believed that Syrian rebels carried out the attack in order to oust Assad. The Foreign Ministry said experts found that the chemical weapons used in the attack were the same ones made by the rebels.
Obama on the chemical weapons usage
During a press conference in his stop-over in Stockholm, Obama emphasized that the world has a responsibility to take action against the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. Obama said, “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent.”
Obama added, “The international community’s credibility is on the line.” Obama is seeking the approval of the U.S. Congress to launch a military strike on Syria.
Meanwhile, France supports Obama’s position on the issue. Before traveling to St. Petersburg to attend the G20 Summit, France Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, “The position of France is to punish and negotiate.” He added, “We are convinced that if there is no punishment for Mr. Assad, there will be no negotiation. Punishment will allow negotiation, but obviously it will be difficult.” France is preparing its own forces to support the United States military strike on Syria.