China trying on Syria's skin

China has been consistently blocking the attempts of the West to adopt the anti-Syrian resolution in the UN Security Council. At the summit of G20 in St. Petersburg, a representative of the country again warned the United States against a military intervention in Syria. Beijing has its own powerful arguments in support of Bashar al - Assad that it prefers not to disclose.

Deputy Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said at a press briefing of the G20 summit that a military action in Syria would negatively impact the world economy, especially in terms of oil prices as it would lead to their increase, Reuters reports. China's position on the Syrian conflict has little coverage in the international media because the country lives guided by the principle of Deng Xiaoping - to act cautiously and skillfully keep a low profile. The Chinese leadership has achieved great success in this art. However, some conclusions can be drawn.

The official Chinese position was announced on September 5 by Qin Gang, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. He said that further steps towards Syria must be approved by the UN Security Council, as this is one of the basic principles of the international law governing international relations. He also called for the political negotiations in Syria, considering them the only way out of the tragic situation in the country, said the representative of China and called to wait for the results of the investigation of a chemical attack on August 21st by the UN representatives.

The positions of China and Russia are identical, said the Chinese official, but not because of the special solidarity or sympathy towards the government of Bashar al-Assad. Neither China nor Russia has a strong economic position in Syria. The PRC includes a Muslim autonomy, the province of Xinjiang. This is nearly 20 million people, mostly Uighurs encouraged by Al- Qaeda to take part in the "holy war" against the infidels.

A representative of the Al-Qaeda Abu Yahya al-Libi called the Uighurs "oppressed Muslims" and stressed that China threatened their identity. According to the head of the local people's government Nur Bekri, an extremist group "East Turkistan" advocating for the creation of a Muslim state on the territory of China is active in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China. It can be concluded that any gain by jihadists in the Middle East would bring China additional problems.  

The concept of a "regime change" does not fit the mentality of the Chinese leaders who do not want to try on such terms. The most terrible nightmare for the Chinese is to become a "global pariah," for example, after the events similar to the shooting of a demonstration in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The tactics of the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia aimed at the "balkanization" of the Arab East (breaking the sovereignty of states and splitting them along ethnic, religious and clan lines) are considered by China with a view of moving further to the Asian continent and its territory. China that, like Russia, formally supported the operation in Libya was furious when a plan for an air corridor ended in a massacre and the loss of its investment in the country. According to Chinese media reports, 75 Chinese companies worked in Libya.

The number of employees in Libya in early 2011 was 36,000 people, and the total sum of signed contracts amounted to over 18, 8 billion dollars, which is more than 50 construction projects. Now the number of Chinese personnel in Libya is barely a thousand people, and all projects are frozen. China does not want to repeat those mistakes, hence the third reason for supporting the Syrian government.

China that does not have large investments in Syria has an excellent position and relations with Iran - the main ally of Assad. The Chinese leadership is well aware that an attack at Syria is an attack at Iran, the largest trading partner of Beijing. Iranian oil accounts for 20 percent of Chinese imports. Chinese analysts have repeatedly expressed the opinion that China, like India, is frustrated with the sanctions imposed on Iran's oil exports as it opened the way to the continued dominance of Saudi Arabia in the world oil exports at higher prices.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy wrote in one of its reports  that it was time to wise up this dangerous game. From the point of view of Beijing, Iran has been an important strategic partner and a point of making efforts against the United States. Over the past two decades, the Chinese have built in Iran houses, bridges, dams, tunnels, railways, pipelines, power plants, as well as a subway in Tehran.

China does not want to see their country falling apart under the pressure of jihadists. China has made impressive progress in the fight against poverty, and its economy is growing steadily. China has invested heavily in the countries of Arab East. But it could lose everything if it concedes to the imperial ambitions of the U.S. and its reckless actions in Syria.  Military Review website referring to a confidential source reported on Friday that a Chinese dock landing ship Jinggangshan was spotted in the Suez Canal.

Lyuba Lulko


Read the original in Russian

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov