China to help deal with chemical weapons

China to help deal with chemical weapons
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an interview with China Central Television in Damascus on Monday. Assad criticized the United States for threatening to attack Syria over its chemical weapons program, saying it was finding "excuses for war".

CHINA - China will send experts "when asked" to help with the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

China welcomes the Syrian government's submission of a list of its chemical weapons to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing on Monday, adding that the decision is "one more positive measure".

The organisation confirmed it received the list on Saturday.

"Regarding the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, China will support the OPCW's work as before, including sending experts to participate in the action at the request of the organisation," Hong said.

China has consistently supported the work of the OPCW and provided many high-end experts, especially chemical-weapons inspectors, to the organisation.

Beijing "supports the OPCW's positive role in settling the Syrian chemical weapons issue and is willing to work with various parties to push its (the OPCW's) standing committee to pass a resolution", Hong said.

Li Shaoxian, a Middle East studies researcher at China Institutes of Contemporary Relations, cautioned that the process of eliminating chemical weapons could be disrupted if the situation in Syria continues to worsen.

"If the situation continues sliding toward all-out civil war and the opposition gains enough strength, Washington might find an excuse at any time to launch an attack on the Syrian government," Li said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the government now needs to facilitate the work of the UN inspectors, who will visit the production facilities and storage sites for the chemical weapons in the coming month, according to an interview aired by China Central Television on Monday.

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