Chinese state media have accused US President Barack Obama of planning to use Syria's chemical weapons as an excuse for intervening militarily.

The state news agency, Xinhua, was responding to a warning from Mr Obama that Syria would be crossing a "red line" if it tried to use such weapons. "Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily," it said. China and Russia have blocked attempts to impose UN sanctions on Syria. Xinhua's commentary is not an official statement but it reflects fears among China's communist leaders that the West wants regime change in Syria under the guise of humanitarian action, the BBC's Damian Grammaticas reports from Beijing. In its commentary, Xinhua criticised the Obama’s remarks as "dangerously irresponsible" and said they would aggravate the conflict, reducing the chances of a political settlement. It argued that "foreign crusades" by Western nations would simply lead to more violence and hatred in Syria, pointing to the examples of other interventions in Somalia, Iraq and Libya.

China insists a ceasefire and UN-led mediation remain the best ways to end Syria's woes.