An attack on Syria would be dangerous and irresponsible, and the world should remember the Iraq war was started by US allegations of weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be false, Xinhua news agency said yesterday.
The US has served Syrian President Bashar al-Assad notice that it believes he was responsible for chemical weapons being used against civilians last week.
Military chiefs from the US and its European and Middle Eastern allies have met in Jordan for what could be a council of war, should they decide to punish al-Assad, who has denied using chemical weapons and blamed rebels for the attacks.
Xinhua said that Western nations were rushing to conclusions about who may have used chemical weapons before UN inspectors had completed their investigation.
“Such rhetoric, as well as the recent flurry of consultations between Washington and its allies, indicates that they have put the arrow on the bowstring and would shoot even without a UN mandate,” it said in an English-language commentary. “That would be irresponsible and dangerous. For starters, the current scenario is reminiscent of the lead-up to the Iraq War, which the United States staged with allegations about weapons of mass destruction that later turned out to be false.”
Xinhua commentaries do not carry the same weight as government statements, but they can be read as a reflection of official Chinese thinking.
China has urged all parties not to jump to conclusions about the results of the UN probe, and has urged calmness in dealing with the accusations.
“In the heat of the crisis, all parties concerned should keep their heads cool, especially those impatient to take military actions without a UN mandate,” it said. “It is imperative that the United States and like-minded countries refrain from hasty armed invention and let the UN play its due part in determining how to act accordingly.”
Russia, al-Assad’s key ally and arms supplier, says rebel forces may have been behind the attack and has urged the US not to use military force against al-Assad.
Moscow and Beijing have vetoed previous Western efforts to impose UN penalties on al-Assad.
However, China has been keen to show it is not taking sides and has urged the Syrian government to talk to the opposition and take steps to meet demands for political change. It has said a transitional government should be formed.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses