China will not protect Syrian government: Wen
(BEIJING) - China will not protect the regime of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Premier Wen Jiabao said Tuesday, after Beijing drew international ire for vetoing a UN resolution on the country.
Wen's comments, during an EU-China summit, came after the United Nations' top human rights representative said the world body's inaction had "emboldened" the Syrian government to use overwhelming force against its own civilians.
"China will absolutely not protect any party, including the government in Syria," Wen told reporters in Beijing.
He added that the priority now was to "prevent war and chaos" in the violence-hit country.
China and Russia have faced a barrage of criticism for blocking a UN Security Council resolution condemning the bloody crackdown on protests in Syria, including from Arab nations with which Beijing normally has good ties.
On Tuesday, Syrian troops battered Homs in some of the heaviest shelling for days in the flashpoint city, a monitoring group said, as the international community warned of a humanitarian disaster.
The United States called the rare double veto a "travesty", while one Syrian opposition group said it had handed Assad's regime a "licence to kill".
Since the crackdown was launched less than a year ago, more than 6,000 people have been killed, monitors say.
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