Beijing - May 7, 2012 - 13:25
China said on Monday it hoped parliamentary elections being held in Syria would help promote reform in the conflict-torn country, as the leader of the nation's opposition visited Beijing.
"We hope this will help promote Syria's reform process and respond to the reasonable requests of the Syrian people for the protection of their interests," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
His comments came as Burhan Ghalioun, head of the opposition Syrian National Council, visited China. He is due to meet foreign ministry officials on his trip, which ends Wednesday, but no other information has been released so far.
China has traditionally backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and it drew international criticism earlier this year for vetoing two UN Security Council resolutions on the crisis, along with Russia. But at the same time, Beijing has made contact with opposition parties in the country. It has also backed UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's efforts to bring peace to Syria.