China Is Using Syria’s Peace Process for Its Own Ends

    Logan Pauley

    Security, Middle East, Asia

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (L) speaks to China's ambassador to the U.N. Ma Zhaoxu before the United Nations Security Council vote for ceasefire to Syrian bombing in eastern Ghouta, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, U.S., February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

    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?

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