Palestinian president to visit China as efforts to build reconciliation with Israel continue
Published: Jun 10, 2023 12:36 AM
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: VCG

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: VCG

China announced on Friday that at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will pay a state visit to China from June 13 to 16. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the visit speaks volumes about the high-level friendly relations between China and Palestine.

News of the visit to China came against the backdrop of a positive trend toward reconciliation in the Middle-East following the resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Analysts said that China is working to promote de-escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict via bilateral talks.

At the Friday press conference, Wang said that President Abbas is an old and good friend of the Chinese people and the first Arab head of state to be hosted by China this year. China stands ready to work with Palestine to follow through on the common understandings of leaders of the two countries and take the China-Palestine traditional friendship to new heights.

China and Palestine enjoy a traditional friendship. China is one of the first countries to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the State of Palestine. In recent years, thanks to the personal guidance of President Xi and President Abbas, China-Palestine relations have maintained a good momentum of growth with stronger political mutual trust and deeper friendship between the two peoples, said Wang.

The Palestinian question is at the heart of the Middle East issue and matters to the region's peace and stability and global equity and justice. China has all along firmly supported the Palestinian people's just cause of restoring their legitimate national rights, Wang said.

For 10 consecutive years, President Xi has sent congratulatory messages to the special commemorative meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. More than once he put forward China's proposals for resolving the Palestinian question, stressing the need to resolutely advance a political settlement based on the two-state solution and intensify international efforts for peace.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will continue to work with the international community for a comprehensive, just and enduring solution to the Palestinian question at an early date, said Wang.

The resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia under China's mediation marks a significant step for the reconciliation trend in the Middle-East and China is now working to promote a solution for the Palestine-Israel conflict as the tensions between the two countries have accelerated with increasing violence and clashes, casting a shadow in the region, Sun Degang, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

The Palestine-Israel conflict has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and has remained unsettled due to the US' partiality toward Israel, analysts said.

Tensions have been mounting in the past two months. For example, Israel in April intensified airstrikes on military posts in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon in response to rockets fired from the areas into Israel. There were already tensions after Israeli police forcibly expelled Palestinian worshippers from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.

China could play a special role in promoting the de-escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict as it has been a trustworthy partner of Palestine and has also maintained close and pragmatic cooperation with Israel. By communicating with each side via bilateral talks, China could explore ways to ease tensions between Palestine and Israel as the first step, said Sun.

The process for promoting talks and communication will not be easy and calls for time and patience, said Sun, adding that China's global security initiative will play a positive role in promoting a solution for the conflict.

According to information from China's Foreign Ministry, Zhai Jun, the special envoy of the Chinese government on the Middle East issue, visited Israel and Palestine in March.

Zhai also met in Jerusalem with United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) Tor Wennesland to exchange views on the Palestinian question.

The Chinese special envoy said that China supports the UN and the UNSCO in their active mediation, and stands ready to work with the international community to make efforts to promote a proper resolution of the Palestinian question and achieve peace between Palestine and Israel.

Wennesland spoke highly of China's active role in the Palestinian question. He also expressed his readiness to work with the Chinese side and other members of the international community to strengthen cooperation, deescalate the tension between Palestine and Israel, and promote the settlement of the Palestinian question on the basis of the two-state solution.