Chinese envoy in Syria urges end to violence


BEIRUT (AP) -- A Chinese envoy visiting Damascus is calling on all sides in Syria to stop the violence and says he is hopeful that the authorities will restore stability soon.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun spoke in the Syrian capital following a meeting with President Bashar Assad Saturday.

He said China was "extremely concerned" about the escalation of the crisis in Syria.

China along with Russia has refused to condemn Syria over the crackdown on an uprising now in its 11th month, which according to the U.N. killed more than 5,400 people last year alone.

China this week voted against a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning human rights violations in Syria.

The vote followed China's recent veto of a similar resolution in the U.N. Security Council.