China has maintained communication with relevant parties, including opposition forces, in regard to the current turmoil in Syria, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
Spokesman Liu Weimin made the remark at a daily press briefing in response to a question about a recent visit to China by a Syrian opposition delegation.
At the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, a delegation of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria (NCB) visited China from Feb. 6 to 9.
During the visit, the delegation met with Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun and had talks with senior officials from the Foreign Ministry's Asian and African affairs departments.
The two sides exchanged views on the current situation in Syria, with the delegation representing the NCB's views and opinions on the turmoil, Liu said, adding that the delegation appreciates China's long-time position on Middle Eastern affairs that upholds the righteousness.
The delegation expressed a hope to beef up communication with China and expects the Chinese side to play a more important role in resolving the Syrian crisis.
Liu said the visit has been planned for some time and China has maintained contact with major Syrian opposition groups for "a period of time."
According to Liu, Chinese special envoy to the Middle East Wu Sike previously met with leaders of various Syrian opposition groups, including the NCB.
China has also established and maintained contact with Syria's opposition National Council, Liu confirmed.
China is a friend of all Syrian people, Liu said, adding that China has no private interests regarding Syria and has been working to encourage peaceful negotiations.
Liu said China does not deliberately shield or oppose any side in the situation and believes in maintaining the fundamental interests of the Syrian people, maintaining peace and stability of the Middle East, and maintaining relevant rules in international relations.
"We call on Syrian authorities and other relevant parties to stop any violence and take practical measures to ease tension and avoid casualties," Liu said.
The spokesman said the Syrian people's "reasonable desire" for change and the protection of self-interest should be respected.
He urged the Syrian government to fulfill promises of reform and create an inclusive political process to be participated in by all relevant parties.
China hopes relevant parties will solve their differences through dialogue and negotiation, Liu said.
China hopes to continue to improve its communication with relevant Syrian parties and will make unremitting efforts to properly and peacefully solve the crisis in Syria, Liu added.