As heavy fighting continues in Syria, an envoy to President Bashar al Assad has visited Beijing in a bid to build on diplomatic relations with one of their greatest allies-China.

Bouthaina Shaaban stepped from her diplomatic car to waiting cameras crews. A journalist can be heard saying, I am from Reuters, why are you in China? She is due to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

The motives for the meeting may be viewed in a number of ways. China as a long-time supporter of the Assad regime has recently come under intense criticism from the West and Arab world, along with Syria's other ally, Russia. Both countries vetoed the United Nations Security Council resolutions, designed to exert pressure on the Assad regime and this was the reason cited by former UN Peace Envoy Kofi Annan for his recent resignation. Beijing says, it is simply trying to prevent more violence. The Chinese ministry said, 'they are also considering inviting members of the Syrian opposition to Beijing'. But as yet there hasn't been any confirmation.

Written and presented by Ann Salter