A Chinese minister said today the situation in Syria should not be on the agenda at the upcoming G20 summit in Mexico because the meeting needs to stay focused on global economic issues, including the European debt crisis.
Vice foreign minister Cui Tiankai told reporters at a briefing that that although there was intense global concern over the situation in Syria, the summit was the appropriate place to discuss it.
He said political and security issues have not been on the G20 agenda before and should not be now.
Mr Cui said Beijing would press the interests of developing countries but acknowledged American and European financial problems inevitably dominated discussions at G20 meetings because of the size and influence of their economies.
Syrian activists estimate more than 13,000 people have died since an uprising erupted 15 months ago.
For months, the US and its European allies have tried unsuccessfully to take United Nations action against Syria, but Russia and China, Syria's main allies, have vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions that threatened possible sanctions.
Russia and China issued a joint statement after a summit in Beijing last week, saying they also opposed any outside military interference or forceful imposition of "regime change" in Syria.