China on Tuesday appointed its first special envoy for the Syrian crisis, a career diplomat who has served as ambassador to Iran, as it seeks a more active role in the Middle East, reported Reuters. China tends to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia. But China has been trying to get more involved, including recently hosting both Syria’s foreign minister and opposition figures, though at different times. China supports the mediation efforts of U.N. Syria special envoy Staffan de Mistura and has provided humanitarian assistance to the region.
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