China accused the United States and Britain of “total hypocrisy” Wednesday during a feisty United Nations Security Council meeting about the humanitarian situation in Syria.
Washington and London slammed Beijing and Moscow earlier this month for forcing the council to drastically scale back cross-border aid to war-torn Syria.
China’s UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, departed from his prepared script to hit back at the criticism.
“The accusations against China and other countries are unfounded; we firmly refute them,” he said in comments translated from Mandarin.
He argued that Beijing played “the role of mediator” in early January to help reconcile Russia’s position on the assistance program with that of Western countries.
On January 10, Russia, China, the United States and Britain all abstained on a vote that renewed aid to Syria, but on a reduced scale.
That vote took place after Beijing and Moscow had in December used their veto power as permanent members of the 15-nation Security Council to block European countries’ support for larger assistance.
“Why do you think other countries should necessarily follow in the footsteps of the United States and the United Kingdom?” asked the ambassador, staring at his counterparts.
“Are we still in a phase of colonialism? This period is largely over,” he added.
The ambassador said China had no soldiers in Syria, had not bombed the country and was not interested in regime change in Damascus.
“The United Kingdom and the United States are not in a position to lay charges against China,” he said.
“The United States and the United Kingdom claim to be defenders of humanitarian values, but this is total hypocrisy,” the representative added.