China appoints special envoy for Syria crisis

Beijing—China on Tuesday appointed its first special envoy for the Syrian crisis, a career diplomat who has served as ambassador to Iran, as it seeks a more active role in the Middle East.
While relying on the region for oil supplies, China tends to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia.
But China has been trying to get more involved, including recently hosting both Syria’s foreign minister and opposition figures, though at different times. The new special envoy for Syria is Xie Xiaoyan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing. He was most recently China’s ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union.
“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has always proactively dedicated itself to the appropriate resolution of the Syria issue,” Hong said, adding that a political solution was the only way out.
China supports the mediation efforts of UN Syria special envoy Staffan de Mistura and has provided humanitarian assistance to the region, Hong said.
China’s appointment of its own special envoy is to help push the peace process and “to better proactively put forward China’s wisdom” and its proposals, he added.—Reuters

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