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China supports probe into use of chemical attack

By AMY HE in New York | | Updated: 2017-04-07 09:34

China supports the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — an intergovernmental institution that makes sure countries adhere to the prohibition on chemical weapons — to carry out comprehensive investigations into all uses of chemicals as weapon in Syria, a senior Chinese envoy said on Wednesday.

Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the UN, strongly condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria during a Security Council emergency meeting convened in response to it.

It is reported that at least 70 people died and 200 others were wounded on Tuesday in a gas attack in a rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib.

Liu said within Syria there have been "many instances of the use of chemicals as weapons", and China supports OPCW in conducting the probe into all cases to reach conclusions based on substantive evidence that can "stand the test of time and facts".

"China firmly opposes the use of chemical weapons by any country, any organization, or any person under any circumstances and this has been our consistent position," Liu said.

"It is essential to hold to account all the related perpetrators and responsible parties in cases of chemical weapons," Liu said. "The civil conflict has entered into its seventh year, already resulting in enormous civilian casualties. China is empathetic with the Syrian people for their sufferings, and we call upon the various Syrian parties to put an early end to the conflict."

Liu also said that political settlement is the only solution to the Syrian question. China hopes that all relevant parties will create conditions for the political solution rather than creating difficulties, he said.

The 15-nation council is working on a draft resolution which asks for an inquiry into the alleged attack.

Syrian government has denied any role in the attack.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN who is currently serving as president of the Security Council for the month of April, said that the US might unilaterally act on Syria if the Security Council failed to respond to the crisis.

"When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action," she said. "For the sake of the victims, I hope the rest of the council is finally willing to do the same."

Xinhua and Wang Linyan contributed to this story.

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