China cautions US to seek UN approval before taking action on Syria

Published September 9th, 2013 - 07:33 GMT
China urges US to take more caution before action. [AFP]
China urges US to take more caution before action. [AFP]

China told the United States on Sunday to return to the United Nations to discuss Syria, after Washington said it was not seeking Security Council approval for action in response to a chemical weapons attack last month.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said relevant countries should “think thrice” before acting and exercise “extreme caution,” Reuters news agency reported.

The United States and France are considering air strikes in response to a chemical attack in which more than a 1,000 have been killed, according to Syrian opposition sources.

Both the U.S. and France should return to the U.N. Security Council to seek consensus and handle the Syria issue appropriately, the minister told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone call.

According to a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website, Wang said that China and the United States should take the lead in upholding the U.N. charter to “preserve and protect the basic norms of international relations and oppose any use of chemical weapons.”

The remarks come after Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Barack Obama at a G20 summit in Russia on Friday that a military strike could not solve the problem and that a political solution was the correct way out.

China has repeatedly called for an impartial investigation by U.N. chemical weapons inspectors into the attack in Syria, and has warned against pre-judging the results. It has also said that whoever used chemical weapons had to be held accountable.

U.N. inspectors are likely to hand in their report later this week while the U.S. Congress debates whether to allow limited strikes on Syria.

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