A top China spokesperson condemned “U.S. greed” and said the country’s actions plunge “other countries into turmoil and disaster” during a press conference on Tuesday, according to a transcript.
The remark from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin was then amplified on the ministry’s official Twitter account.
“The level of US greed in stealing resources from Syria is as striking as its ‘generosity’ in giving out military aid. Whether the US gives or takes, it plunges other countries into turmoil & disaster, and the US gets to reap the benefits for its hegemony and other interests,” the tweet said.
Wang was reacting to a Syrian state news report that U.S. troops drove “looted oil” from the Syrian countryside to military bases in Iraq last weekend in a convoy of 53 tankers. The Syrian state news agency, SANA, has reported similar stories numerous times in recent years, and Chinese officials have spoken up about it before.
Wang said China is “struck by the blatancy and egregiousness of the U.S.’ plundering of Syria,” adding that Syrian data shows more than 80 percent of its daily oil output was smuggled away by the U.S. in the first half of last year.
“Such banditry is aggravating the energy crisis and humanitarian disaster in Syria,” Wang continued. “The US must answer for its oil theft. … We urge the US to stop trampling on international rule of law and breaking international rules.
The U.S. intervened in Syria’s ongoing civil war in 2014 to contain the spread of the Islamic State (ISIS). The militant Islamist group was largely defeated around 2019, but there are still about 900 U.S. troops deployed in Syria “to keep an ISIS resurgence at bay,” a military spokesman told the Washington Post last month.
The UN estimates that more than 350,000 people have been killed in Syria since the war began in 2011, and describes the conflict as unleashing “unprecedented devastation and displacement” on the country.