China has joined Russia in opposing military strikes on Syria, saying it would push up oil prices and create an economic downturn.
The Chinese intervention came as G20 leaders gathered in Saint Petersburg on Thursday for a summit likely to be dominated by Syria. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is expected to allow the issue on to the agenda for dinner, reflecting the reality that the fate of the world economy is inextricably intertwined with the risk of a Middle East conflagration.
The Chinese deputy finance minister, Zhu Guangyao, told a pre-G20 briefing: "Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on oil prices – it will cause a hike in the oil price."
The UN special envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is rushing to the summit to update G20 leaders on the state of stalled peace talks.