Beijing: China has rejected criticism by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that it is hampering efforts to end the Syrian conflict by supporting President Bashar Assad's government.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement today that Clinton's remarks were "totally unacceptable" and that China has contributed greatly to the cause of Syrian peace.

He said China has wide international support for its "just and constructive" stance on Syria. "Any effort to slander China and incite discord between China and any other country will be futile," Liu said.

Clinton told about 100 nations attending a conference on Syria yesterday that they should "directly and urgently make it clear that Russia and China will pay a price" for standing up on behalf of the Assad government.

Neither Moscow nor Beijing attended the conference. They have twice blocked UN condemnations of Syria's government and last weekend worked to water down a transition plan by international envoy Kofi Annan.

(Agencies)

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