China on Tuesday said it was backing a Russian call for Syria to turn over chemical weapons, the latest in international debate on military action in the war-torn country.
Military analysts say the announcement gives a significant boost to Russia’s attempt to slow down U.S. talk of launching a military strike against Syria, The New York Times reported. Further, the remarks — made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei — came on the heels of a civil rights group’s finding that President Bashar Assad very well could have used chemical weapons against his own people, despite his repeated denials.
Human Rights Watch said evidence about the type of launch craft that was used in the strike outside Damascus on Aug. 21 “suggests that these are weapon systems known and documented to be only in the possession of, and used by, Syrian government armed forces,” The Times reported.
Russia’s proposal has already been gaining steam among other nations.
On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron gave a tentative nod to the idea, saying: “If Syria were to put its chemical weapons beyond use under international supervision, clearly that would be a big step forward and should be encouraged. I think we have to be careful, though, to make sure this is not a distraction tactic to discuss something else rather than the problem on the table.”