China’s Calculated Moves in Syria

By Yun Sun
in Program

More than five years have passed since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost. Millions have been forced to leave their homes and become refugees. While the U.S. and Russia have often been on the frontline in the Syrian crisis, China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an emerging global power, has played a relative obscure and elusive role in the conflict resolution. How China maps its interests and actions in Syria has been an intriguing question.

To begin with, the Syrian civil war has not been a priority for the Chinese foreign policy apparatus. Due to the geographic distance, China has not been a direct victim of the refugee crisis or the spillover effect of the ongoing war, immediately across the border. Chinese economic interests in Syria had been insignificant before the war, and further engagements have been thwarted by the escalating violence. China’s Syria policy stands in stark contrast to its reaction to the Libyan civil war. In the case of Libya, China had significant economic interests and personnel on the ground at the time of war, making it a much higher priority for Beijing. 

This article was originally published on November 9, 2016. Read the full article at China-US Focus.

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