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China rejects US criticism over blocked Syria plan

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February 27, 2012 04:26 AM EST | AP

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BEIJING — China said Monday that the world should not impose any solution in Syria's conflict and rejected U.S. comment that Beijing was "despicable" for opposing U.N. action aimed at stopping the Middle Eastern country's bloodshed.

At a conference on Syria last week in Tunisia, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton blasted Russia and China as "despicable" for vetoing U.N. Security Council resolutions backing Arab League plans aimed at ending the conflict and condemning the crackdown by President Bashar Assad's government.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded to those comments Monday by saying, "We cannot accept them at all."

China maintains that the Syrian people's own choice should be respected, and that no "so-called plan on Syria" should be imposed by other countries, Hong said.

China's state media over the weekend accused the United States and Europe of having ulterior motives in Syria, while billing themselves as friends of the Syrian people.

"In other words, while they appear to be acting out of humanitarian concern, they are actually harboring hegemonistic ambitions," the official Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary Saturday.

Both China and Russia boycotted Friday's Friends of Syria conference, which urged Assad to end his regime's nearly year-old crackdown on anti-government uprisings that followed Arab Spring protests in other countries in the region.

The U.N. estimated in January that 5,400 people have died in the Syrian conflict. Hundreds more have died since, with activists saying the death toll is more than 7,300. Assad's regime blames the violence on terrorists and armed thugs, not people who want to reform the system.

China sent a vice foreign minister to Syria last week for talks. It says it vetoed the U.N. Security Council vote on Syria because it was called before differences over the proposal were bridged.