Jordan King Says to Discuss Syria Conflict with China


Jordan's King Abdullah II held talks on the Syrian crisis with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, he said during a state visit.

In a meeting with Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the king described China as "a team member of the United Nations Security Council and a friend of Jordan and the Middle East.”

They would discuss "ways and means of achieving peace, stability, civility and prosperity in our region through an active role in the peace process as well as that of the Syrian conflict,” the king told Xi, on the last day of his four-day trip.

Tensions have emerged between the West and Moscow -- which is normally backed by Beijing in the U.N. Security Council -- over how to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons following an attack in which Washington says Bashar Assad's forces killed more than 1,400 people.

Despite a weekend agreement between the Cold War rivals aimed at dismantling Syria's chemical arsenal by mid-2014, differences remain between the two sides on a U.N. resolution to put it into effect.

Xi said China appreciated the king's efforts and commitment "to regional peace, stability and development.”

"I'm ready to have an in-depth exchange of views with you on our bilateral relations, as well as other regional and international issues of mutual interest," he said.

Four agreements were signed between the two sides after the talks, including one on defense industry cooperation between China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense and the Jordanian armed forces.

Jordan, a key ally of the United States, has steadfastly backed a political solution to the Syrian crisis and opposes military intervention, vowing its territory will not be used as a launchpad for strikes on the Damascus regime.

The kingdom, which is already struggling with 500,000 Syrian refugees, has said the United States is providing it with technical assistance against any possible chemical threat from Syria.

More than 110,000 people have been killed during the 30-month-long Syrian conflict, according to rights groups, and refugees have flooded countries in the region.

Russia and China have vetoed three western U.N. resolutions which sought to increase pressure on Assad.

The Jordanian monarch was scheduled to meet with China's Premier Li Keqiang later Wednesday.

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