China leaves Syrian envoy in place, urges peace

China is brushing aside suggestions that it follow the U.S. and other countries and expel the Syrian ambassador, saying instead the world powers should work on promoting a dialogue in Syria.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin, when asked at a daily media briefing on Wednesday about a possible expulsion, said that as far as he knows the Syrian Embassy in Beijing remains unaffected.

Liu says that while China wants to see the perpetrators of a recent civilian massacre punished the more urgent task is to support U.N. envoy Kofi Annan's proposal for a cease-fire and negotiations.

The weekend massacre has renewed calls for more direct pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad — something that China, along with Russia, has resisted.