China to 'team up with Russia in Syria'
Thu, Oct 8, 2015 | UPDATED: 13:53, Thu, Oct 8, 2015
Reports from Russia and the Middle East have both said China's armed forces are on the way to Syria
Russia has carried out a series of deadly airstrikes against the terrorist group over the last few days and Vladimir Putin has now sent the country's most elite special forces team into the war zone.
And speculation is heightening that offensive will be bolstered by the China's People's Liberation Army, following a number of reports of military movements in the region backed up by strong words from a senior government member at a United Nations meeting.
Reports emanating from the Middle East last week said China was planning on joining the fight against ISIS "in the coming weeks", according to a Syrian army official.
While Beijing insists it will abide by the United Nations (UN) in the region, hints of an action were backed up when it spoke strongly about a coordinated response to the rising terrorist threat.
The world cannot afford to stand by and look on with folded arms, but must also not arbitrarily interfere
China's foreign minister
Speaking of the Syrian crisis China's foreign minister Wang Yi said at the UN Security Council session in New York: “The world cannot afford to stand by and look on with folded arms, but must also not arbitrarily interfere.”
He added that nations should stand united against "violent extremist ideology".
Mr Wang and his opposite number in Russia, Sergey Lavrov met at length last week and afterwards Mr Lavrov said the two countries are in "similar positions" on many domestic and international issues.
APChinese foreign minister Wang has urged for a united front against extremism
China has also shown solidarity with Syria, joining Russia in vetoeing UN proposals against Bashar al-Assad, which are likely to prevent him being referred by the council to the International Criminal Court.
The latest actions at the UN conference have come amid reports, citing key military sources, Chinese warships have made their way to Syrian shores through the Suez Canal.
It was said China's J-15 warplanes would launch from an aircraft carrier for attacks on ISIS.
The fight against ISISTue, October 6, 2015 The battle against ISIS militants (also abbreviated as Daesh, ISIL, IS and Islamic State) continues in the Middle East.
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Bombs dropped by a Russian warplane during an airstrike against a large concentration of terrorist Islamic State (ISIS or IS) military equipment in the forest area near the city of Idlib, Syria [EPA]
Russian media followed that up by quoting Igor Morozov, a member of the Russian Federation Committee on International Affairs, confirming Chinese aircraft carrier, Lianoning, and a guided missile cruiser were heading to the area, and adding Chinese military advisers were already in the region.
Mr Morozov said: "It is known that China has joined our military operation in Syria.
"The Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, followed by its aircraft carrier."
These reports have not been verified by China and satellite images show the Syrian port of Tartus, currently empty.
However, China come under threat from ISIS in recent months increasing the theory an attack is in the pipeline.
Soldiers pictured in training last month taking part in drills in China
GETTYPutin, pictured with Chinese president Xi Jinping last month, would welcome military support
GETTYReports circulated the Lianoning aircraft carrier was on its way to Syria
It began last year when ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sent out a chilling threat to China over the perceived oppression of the Muslim Uighur minority in the state of Xinjiang.
Beijing claims members of the Uighur militant group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, have been training with extremists in Syria and Iraq.
China officials also say they face a severe threat of terror attacks in Xinjiang, where hundreds have died in clashes over the past three years.
China was further angered by ISIS insurgents releasing photos last month purporting to be of a Chinese citizen who had recently gone missing in the region.
They were demanding a ransom for his return.
ISIS has also spoken of its desire to increase its presence in China and last month a document from the group revealed .
China has long maintained a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states but, as well as the threat to its own country from ISIS, the situation in Syria is impacting on the Asian state's economy.
That includes the China National Petroleum Corporation being forced to abandon its oilfields in Syria.
China also has oil fields in Iraq and would suffer heavily financially if these fell into the hands of ISIS.
Any interference in the region would pit China against USA and the Asian country would be keen to avoid a confrontation with its fellow superpower.
However, it would be a major boost to the Russian war strategy in Syria