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China backs U.N. move on Syrian weapons

Sept. 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM

BEIJING, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The Chinese government stands in support of the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons under U.N. supervision, a foreign ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

An agreement reached by the U.S. and Russian governments calls on Syria to hand over an inventory of its chemical weapons arsenal to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said alongside his French and U.S. counterparts this week there was a general consensus to "use our full weight as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council" to implement the agreement on Syria's chemical weapons.

A U.N. report this week confirmed the nerve agent sarin was used in an August attack on a suburb of Damascus.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday the government "consistently advocated" the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles under a U.N. Security Council framework.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week "the military option is still on the table" if Syria decides to "play games." The foreign ministry spokesman, however, said China prefers a peaceful settlement to the issue.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, this week the U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria's weapons should be implemented as soon as possible.

China holds veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

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