BEIJING - Days after Russia sent its foreign minister to Syria to talk to the Bashar al-Assad regime, China is sending its envoy to Damascus in an effort to mediate in the crisis gripping the violence-wracked nation.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun is to travel to Syria Friday on a two-day visit.
The Chinese foreign ministry has not revealed details of Zhai's agenda or who he would be meeting in Damascus. The minister had met a Syrian opposition delegation in Beijing last week.
Both Russia and China had vetoed a UN resolution calling for regime change in Syria where hundreds have been killed in anti-government protests. The move was widely criticized by the Western nations.
Earlier, Zhai said that China does not approve of the use of force to interfere in Syria or "the forceful pushing of a so-called regime change".
Zhai's comments were posted on the foreign ministry website www.fmprc.gov.cn.
He also said that Beijing believes that sanctions or the threat of sanctions "are not conducive to the appropriate resolution of this issue."
"We urge the Syrian government and all of its political parties to immediately and fully end all acts of violence and quickly restore stability and normal social order," Zhai said.
China's efforts to mediate in the Syrian crisis comes days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Damascus and urged for peace.
Zhai's trip to Syia comes as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping wraps up his four-day visit to the US during which President Barack Obama strongly raised the issue of Beijing's veto of the UN resolution on Syria.
China wants the Syria crisis solved within the framework of the Arab League, Zhai said.