China said Thursday it disapproved of “one-sided” sanctions and pressure on Syria after France raised the prospect of a new raft of punitive measures against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday said he would consult with Western allies to prepare tough new sanctions against Assad’s regime, as battles between troops and rebels rage in Syria.
He also called for a faltering ceasefire plan to be made mandatory, with the threat of action by the UN Security Council — of which China is a veto-wielding permanent member.
“China disapproves of one-sided sanctions and pressuring,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters in reaction to Fabius’ proposal.
The French foreign minister has called on fellow Security Council members to use the UN charter to make a ceasefire plan crafted by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan mandatory.
The UN Charter’s Chapter Seven allows measures to be imposed on a country under penalty of sanctions or the use of force.
Liu on Thursday reiterated support for Annan’s six-point peace plan — which calls for both sides to lay down their arms and participate in a Syrian-led political transition, and should have gone into effect from April 12.
“Under the current circumstances, parties should give full support to Annan’s mediation efforts,” he said.
China and Russia — both Syria allies — oppose UN Security Council action against Damascus, and came under strong criticism earlier this year when they vetoed two resolutions that would have sanctioned Assad for his use of force.
But on Wednesday, Beijing said it was “greatly concerned” about the situation in Syria, saying it had reached a “critical juncture” as a UN official said the country was now in a full-scale civil war.
Monitors say more than 14,100 people have been killed in the 15–month uprising against Assad’s regime.