Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is wrapping up meetings with the Arab League, as well as his counterparts in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria . . . the visit follows on the heels of China’s veto on February 4 of a UN Security Council resolution that called for Syrian President Assad to step down . . . the veto was roundly criticized in the Arab world . . . several countries, as well as the head of the Arab League, Nabil Elarby, said that both China’s (and Russia’s, which also cast a veto) influence in the region would diminish because of the veto . . . China said it was “ready to work with Arab countries” to resolve the crisis in Syria in a peaceful manner . . . China is facing a surprisingly strong backlash from countries in the region . . . at the time of the veto, China said it was doing so in order to prevent casualties on the ground . . . in light of recent data showing deaths escalating dramatically, however, China has been forced to do diplomatic damage control . . . it is well understood in the Arab world that China cast the veto because it was worried about growing U.S. influence in the region . . . for counties like Saudi Arabia, which see Syria and its backers in Iran as a security threat, China’s veto will likely have lasting repercussions and will fuel distrust about China’s long-term intentions in the region.