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China prepares to send envoy to Syria

After talks with the Arab League head this week, China says its now planning to send an envoy to Syria

China syria envoy 12 02 16Enlarge
Syrian army soldiers stand at a checkpoint in the city of Harasta, north of Damascus. China has said it will send an envoy to Syria on Friday to assess the situation. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

China's Foreign Ministry has confirmed it will send a senior diplomat to Syria for talks on Friday.

The news comes as UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon today publicly rebuked the government of Syria, accusing it of atrocities and the slaughter of children, according to The New York Times.

Reuters reports that the announcement of the Chinese envoy was made by the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, during a routine briefing on Thursday.

The news agency says that the details of the visit were still to be finalized.

AFP explains that it is the second time in less than a week that a Chinese envoy will hold talks on the situation in Syria.

Last Monday, Lu Huaxin attended a meeting with the Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, during which Elaraby criticized China's decision to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution urging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down.

Russia also blocked the vote.

More from GlobalPost: Why Russia stands by Syria

Li was Beijing's ambassador to Syria until last year, AFP added.

The news agency also said that the envoy would travel on to Saudi Arabia and Qatar to further lay out China's position on Syria.

Similarly, Liu reportedly confirmed that China's special envoy on the Middle East, Wu Sike, would travel to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan later in February to clarify China's position there.

Activists with the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claim that over 6,000 people have been killed in Syria since Assad's government launched a crackdown on anti-government protests in March 2011.

More from GlobalPost: Syria: UN calls for 'urgent' action to prevent civil war

The Times said Ban's remarks came just hours before a scheduled vote at the UN General Assembly on a resolution condemning the government of President Bashar al-Assad for its brutal and bloody repression of a popular uprising against him.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120216/china-prepares-send-envoy-syria