BEIJING- China has rejected criticism by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that China and Russia are hampering efforts to end the Syrian conflict by supporting President Bashar al-Assad.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin on Saturday said that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's criticism of China at the latest Friends of Syria meeting is “totally unacceptable.”
"China is not impeding the process of resolving the Syrian issues," Liu Weimin said at a regular press conference in response to a question on Clinton's remarks on Friday in Paris.
Weimin said China has wide support among members of the international community for its stance on Syria, and that any effort to slander China will fail.
But Liu retorted, "On the contrary, China has made an important contribution to safeguarding the UN Charter, the basic norms governing international relations, the peace and stability of the region and the fundamental interests of the Syrian people as well as pursuing a political solution to the Syrian issues."
The spokesman said the Geneva meeting, a ministerial-level gathering of the Action Group on Syria in which China played a constructive role, produced positive outcomes.
China's impartial and constructive stance as well as its diplomatic efforts have been widely recognized and supported by the international community, said Liu, adding that any efforts to blemish the image of China or make mischief between it and other nations will end in vain.
Clinton told about 100 nations attending a conference on Syria on Friday that they should "directly and urgently make it clear that Russia and China will pay a price" for standing up on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad government.
Neither Moscow nor Beijing attended the conference. They have twice blocked U.N. condemnations of Syria's government and last weekend worked to water down a transition plan by international envoy Kofi Annan.
Russia and China, both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, have repeatedly vetoed tough Council action against Syria. Neither attended the conference in Paris. However, they have agreed to the authority of an eventual transitional governing body for the country.