China’s Mild-Mannered Syria Diplomacy

China’s Mild-Mannered Syria Diplomacy

China has maintained a very low profile thus far on the Syria question. As is so often the case at the Security Council, it has preferred to let Moscow take the lead. While Russian diplomats relish skewering the West, China’s officials almost always prefer a milder approach. Reuters reports this morning on the latest bromides from the Chinese foreign ministry:

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei would not say explicitly whether Beijing would back or oppose the French proposal, but implied some reservations.

"China supports the U.N. Security Council in playing an important role on issues of world peace and security and is willing to remain in touch with all sides on the next steps by the security council," he told a daily news briefing.

"We also believe that action by the Security Council must be based on consensus reached after full discussions by all sides, should help ameliorate the present tension in Syria, be helpful to maintaining peace and stability in Syria and the region and be helpful to a political resolution."

While their tones are very different, it’s highly unlikely that Moscow and Beijing will diverge if and when it comes time to vote.