US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left talks in China today with a diplomatic barb delivered by host Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi ringing in her ears.
Ms Clinton, whose country has billions of pounds worth of investments tied up in China, used the opportunity to criticise Beijing for refusing to pave the way for a Libya-style military assault on Syria.
"It is no secret that we have been disappointed by Russia and China's actions blocking tougher UN security council resolutions and we hope to continue to unite behind a real path forward to end the violence in Syria," she told reporters in the Chinese capital.
But Mr Yang would not be diverted from the Chinese policy of non-intervention, issuing a robust response to US claims that "history will judge" that position.
"I think history will judge that China's position on the Syria question is a promotion of the appropriate handling of the situation," Mr Yang said as he stood beside Ms Clinton.
"For what we have in mind is the interests of the people of Syria and the region and the interests of peace, stability and development in the region and throughout the world."
The China summit comes a day after a Berlin meeting to make arrangements for the takeover of the country if the Syrian government falls.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the hotch-potch opposition to unite because "the people in Syria must see that there is a credible alternative to the regime."
Syria's regional neighbours have also kept up the war of words aimed at Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi advised President Assad to learn from "recent history" and step down.
And Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country has been channelling weapons to rebels in its southern neighbour, branded the campaign to put down guerilla warfare by defectors and Islamists "state terrorism."
Turkey has just launched its own bloody crackdown against Kurds north of Syria's border in retaliation for guerilla attacks.
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