China has confirmed it has no plans to send military vessels to Syria to fight with Russian forces after reports in overseas media indicated it was planning to do so.
Chinese media picked up Russian and Middle Eastern news reports that China would fight alongside Russia in Syria, and that China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, could participate too. We reported that this was not going to happen, at the time.
Chinese, most Western and Middle Eastern media described these reports as “speculative nonsense”.
The incredibly notorious ‘DEBKAfile’ claimed that the Liaoning had passed through the Suez Canal recently, this was not the case.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing:
“I can tell you that as for China’s warships, for example the Liaoning, whether it has gone to join, for this issue, as far as I know, there is no such plan. At this time the Liaoning is in a phase of carrying out technical training and military exercises.”
A Chinese naval expert had also dismissed reports that the People’s Liberation Army Navy is sending an aircraft carrier to Syria to assist in the fight against Islamic State.
Many media outlets picked up a report from the news website Al-Masdar, which cited a Syrian army official as stating that a Chinese carrier is on its way to Syria.