Security, Middle East, Asia
China’s more broad strategic initiatives lead to other international stakeholders voting in line with Beijing on debates on Syrian crisis.
China Taking Charge in Syrian Peace Talks
On May 13-14, China held the “International Symposium on the Prospect of a Political Settlement of the Syrian Issue” in Shanghai, marking the first time that China has hosted an international forum regarding Syrian conflict resolution. While Beijing did not deviate from its steadfast advocacy for a Syrian-led political settlement and a strict interpretation of the role of the United Nations, the symposium serves as an unprecedented indication that China is taking on the mantle of leadership in building international consensus on how to engage in the Syrian conflict and may foreshadow both Beijing’s growing role in the future of Damascus and the United States’ diminishing influence in the peace process.
Takeaways from the symposium
The symposium, hosted by China’s Special Envoy on Syria, Xie Xiaoyan, saw attendance from the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, as well as the Special Envoy from the United Kingdom and France, and public officials and scholars from the United States, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Qatar. Discussion was motivated by three undergirding questions: What does a solution in Syria look like? What are the main factors affecting prospects for a Syrian settlement? And, what is the role of the international community in Syria?