China tabled a four-point proposal to end the Syrian conflict when Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League peace envoy visited Beijing this week. Brahimi's visit was seen as a sign that he needed to secure China's support for his mediation role and hoped China would play a more active part in solving the Syrian situation.
Long-term violence has forced all parties involved to accept that the situation has evolved from where it was 19 months ago. It has been gradually acknowledged that the final solution can only be sought through dialogue between the Assad government and the rebels. The idea of forcing one side to surrender has to be abandoned.
Not only have the Syrian people suffered great atrocities because of the war, but the large number of refugees swarming to neighboring countries is also beginning to threaten regional stability.
As civil war has worn out both the resources of the government and the opposition forces, the US and NATO have indicated they are reluctant to resort to military means now. Brahimi is facing a rare opportunity to solve the issue through diplomacy. Peace talks should be given a chance. A more detailed proposal, and inviting Brahimi to visit China, are all signs that China is taking on a role as a responsible major power.
The four-point proposal continues China's long-held principle that regime change is not a cure to Syria's problem. The proposal emphasized that a ceasefire and humanitarian aid are what the Syrian people need most at this time. China attaches great importance to the reality of the deteriorating situation in Syria. Previous criticisms that China has been turning a blind eye to the bloodshed in Syria are completely wrong.
A roadmap of political transition isn't contradictory to China's previous stance of respecting the choices of the Syrian people. It is the consensus of the international community that the Syrian conflict must be solved through politics and not a military intervention. What China's proposal advocates is the fact that Syria cannot afford a protracted civil war. The grim consequences of such decisions have already been clearly shown in Iraq and Libya. Turning a blind eye to Syrian's reality will only create more violence.
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