China leaves Syrian envoy in place, urges peace

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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.