Abbas, Netanyahu visits reveal China's refocused diplomacy

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-5-9 10:23:51

With Palestine and Israel's top leaders on almost concurrent visits to China this week, analysts have highlighted a trend under which China is increasingly taking a more active stance in diplomacy.

"China is following an omnidirectional diplomatic concept with a more obvious and active attitude, and it's gradually becoming an irreplaceable contributor to ensuring world peace," Hua Liming, former Chinese Ambassador to Iran, told Xinhua.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wrapped up his three-day visit to China on Tuesday, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Shanghai on Monday for his five-day visit.

With the two leaders' visits overlapping on two days, their schedules are drawing intense focus from the world as many have high hopes that China, as one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, could help the resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel following a four-year deadlock.

Abbas's visit was his first to China as Palestinian president, and he was also the first Middle Eastern head of state to visit China after Xi Jinping assumed the Chinese presidency in March.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's visit immediately followed his similar trip to the United States.

According to Hua Liming, the visits reflect the new Chinese leadership's focus on the situations in the Middle East as well as the growing expectations of countries in the region for China to have a clearer voice and a more constructive influence.

"Both Palestinian and Israeli leaders attach great importance to China's active and significant influence on the peace progress, " Hua said.

China's economic and trade ties with Middle East countries, along with its influence in the region, have been growing stronger in recent years amid the world economic crisis. The country is now Israel's largest trading partner in Asia and the third largest in the world.

"The peace situation in the Middle East is of key importance to China," said An Huihou, former Chinese Ambassador to Egypt.

Such a diplomatic approach echoes Xi Jinping's call for the global goals of peace and prosperity prior to the fifth BRICS summit in March in Durban, South Africa.

"China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development. In the meantime, we hope all countries in the world will pursue peaceful development," Xi said.

According to the Chinese president, China hopes countries and civilizations around the world will carry out exchanges on an equal footing, learn form each other and achieve common progress.

Later, at the opening plenary of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013, Xi called on the international community to "advocate the vision of comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security so as to turn our global village into a big stage for common development, rather than an arena where gladiators fight each other."

Dong Manyuan, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies, stressed China's firm and long-term stand to ensure world peace and justice when it comes to the Palestinian question -- as in contrast to some other countries which lean toward one side for their own benefits.

"China is shouldering global obligations that are proportionate to its status on the world stage, and the visits by Palestinian and Israeli leaders marked a new milestone for China's active participation in solving issues in the Middle East," Dong said.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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