02 September 2016
For years, China has walked a fine line on Syria. It supported diplomatic efforts to end the conflict but refused to be drawn into the complex conflagration that threatens to consume the Middle East.
But on August 14, a visit by a senior official in the People’s Liberation Army appeared to reverse China’s careful attempts to steer clear of entanglements in Syria. It also raised broader questions about Beijing’s long-standing aversion to military intervention in foreign conflicts.
Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, a senior official in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), met top Syrian officials in Damascus, where he promised increased military aid and training for government forces.
Mr Guan also met a senior Russian general, affirming a budding partnership with Moscow in military affairs.
While it was kept low key, the visit was so unusual that it even caught Chinese experts by surprise.
… “China’s activities, especially in the South China Sea, are driving countries away from it, not towards it,” says Richard Bitzinger of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 02/09/2016