China says will give U.N. Syria report 'thorough review'

Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday that it would take a serious look at a report by U.N. investigators which confirmed the use of sarin nerve agent in an August 21 gas attack outside the Syrian capital.

The long-awaited U.N. report did not say who launched the attack, though U.S., British and French envoys said technical details in it pointed to Syrian government culpability.

"China attaches great importance to the contents of the relevant report and will give it a thorough review," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news briefing in Beijing.

"At the same time, we consistently advocate that the relevant investigation should be carried out by the U.N. investigation team in an impartial, objective and professional manner."

Hong would not be drawn on whether China shared the U.S., British and French view.

"China's stance on the use of chemical weapons is consistent and clear. We oppose the use of chemical weapons by anyone. China strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons within Syria," he said.

Hong repeated that China supported the resolution of the issue under a U.N. framework and wanted a political resolution.

The United States and its allies say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces carried out the attack with sarin nerve gas, killing more than 1,400 people, including 400 children. Russia and Assad blame rebel forces.

Russia and China have both vetoed previous Western efforts to impose U.N. penalties on Assad.

China had called for a full and impartial investigation by U.N. chemical weapons inspectors and warned against pre-judging the results. It has also said that anyone who uses chemical weapons should be held accountable.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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