Xi: China willing to help foster Palestinian peacemaking with Israel
China is willing to play a positive role to help the Palestinians achieve internal reconciliation and promote peace talks with Israel, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Palestinian counterpart in Beijing on Wednesday.
"The fundamental solution to the Palestinian issue lies in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital," Xi said, according to Chinese state media.
Palestinians seek statehood in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war - and the Gaza Strip. Israel withdrew soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but has kept it under crippling siege and continues to expand settlements in the West Bank.
Peace talks that were brokered by the United States collapsed in 2014, with no revival on the horizon.
"We have always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights," Xi told Abbas at a welcoming ceremony at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
China has had historically good ties with the Palestinians and since Abbas' last visit in 2017 has consistently talked up its capabilities in mediation, although with little to show in this regard until it brokered a surprise deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations in March.
China has signalled its determination to build on the Saudi-Iranian deal by tackling other conflicts in the Middle East through diplomacy. So can it broker Israel-Palestine peace talks? https://t.co/Rwrg2YMwx7— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) April 30, 2023
Abbas is in Beijing on a three-day visit in which he hoped to demonstrate Chinese support for a Palestinian state, after failing to meet with US officials while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly last year.
Xi reiterated Chinese support for the Palestinian Authority becoming a full member of the United Nations and said Beijing would continue to stand up for the Palestinian side in multilateral forums, state media reported.
The United States opposes full Palestinian UN membership barring a peace deal with Israel, a step requiring a vote in the Security Council where the US, like China, holds a veto.
Xi also said the international community should increase development and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians.
Xi and Abbas also announced the two sides had agreed to establish a strategic partnership and signed a number of bilateral cooperation documents.
Those include an economic and technological cooperation pact, a deal on mutual visa exemption for diplomatic passports, and a friendship between the Chinese city of Wuhan and Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian government in the occupied West Bank.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang offered to contribute "Chinese wisdom" to the "Palestinian issue" in a separate meeting with Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki.
(Reuters and The New Arab Staff)