BEIJING  - China’s top newspaper on Tuesday warned against outside intervention in Syria, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon headed to Beijing to seek support for tougher action against President Bashar al-Assad.

China has repeatedly rejected international intervention to halt the 16-month conflict in Syria, but Western powers are pushing for a new UN resolution that would threaten sanctions if Assad does not pull back his main weapons.”The life of Syria’s current political leadership can only be determined by the Syrian people. This is an internal matter and the international community should respect that,” the state-run People’s Daily said in an editorial. Ban will arrive in Beijing later Tuesday for talks with President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders that are expected to be dominated by Syria. He has already urged China to use its influence to back a peace plan by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, who is calling on the Security Council to order “consequences” for any failure to carry out his six-point plan. Assad has agreed to the plan, which includes the withdrawal of heavy weapons, but failed to carry it out. “External intervention to achieve regime change and to prevent a humanitarian disaster may appear to be sensible and responsible reasons to act,” said the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party.