China’s veto of a UN Security Council resolution on Syria this weekend was not its first, but it is the more controversial. Forget China’s protestations that it exercised its veto to be supportive of Moscow’s “reasonable concerns” over the resolutions’s wording and to help maintain the unity and authority of the Security Council, seen above in session on Feb. 4th. Forget, too, the Iranian dimension to all this. There was never a realistic chance that Beijing would support a resolution calling for forced regime change in the face of popular protests and “a political transition to a democratic, plural political system.”
“The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria should be fully respected,” said Li Baodong, China’s permanent representative to the UN. Change one proper noun in that sentence and it will sound awfully familiar.