01/05/2016, 00.00

Syrian opposition leader in Beijing today

Khaled Khoja, elected a year ago president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, follows Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem in Beijing, a sign of China’s growing interest in settling conflicts in the region.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Khaled Khoja (pictured), president of the Istanbul-based National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces starts a visit to China today, a sign that China is taking a greater interest in the Syrian conflict.

China has so far followed Russia in its action at the United Nations.

Last month, it blocked a measure to ask the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in the country, consistently calling for a "political solution" to the conflict.

"We believe that at the current stage we need to seek a ceasefire and a political settlement in parallel," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

China hosted members of the Syrian regime on an official visit in December, when Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem declared that Damascus was ready to participate in peace talks with opposition groups.

Conversely, in his first speech after being elected, Mr Khoja ruled out negotiations with "the Assad regime" unless "they bring about real and complete political transition".

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