Chinese deputy foreign minister Zhai Jun (翟隽) will be in Syria on Friday and Saturday, according to remarks by foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin (刘为民) on a press conference in Beijing on Thursday. The declared aim was to promote a solution to the Syrian crisis, to “try to make peace” and to “promote talks” (劝和促谈). On February 7, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov had been in Damascus and urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to move ahead with reforms Tuesday as a way to resolve Syria’s crisis. Some three days earlier, Russia and China had vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution draft supported by all other 13 permanent and non-permanent members.
According to the BBC‘s Chinese website, Zhai Jun met with representatives from Syrian opposition in Beijing last week. The Syrians were in Beijing on invitation by the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (中国人民外交学会), met with Zhai Jun on February 7. Two days after the meeting, on a foreign ministry press conference a week ago, spokesman Liu said that
The “organization”*) explained its position concerning the current Syrian situation, praised the just position China had long upheld in Middle East matters, expressed their desire to strengthen communication with the Chinese side, and their hope that China would play a greater role to promote a path out of the crisis for Syria as soon as possible.
A detailed schedule for Zhai’s visit was still being arranged today (Thursday), according to spokesman Liu.
*) The term “organization” or “body” (机构) is part of the Chinese name for the organization (全国民主变革力量民族协调机构). It seems to refer to the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change.
Update (Febr 16): the visiting delegation was indeed from the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, aka Syrian National Coordination Body for Democratic Change.