China's role as facilitator of peace highlighted in Arab-Islamic FM's visit
Published: Nov 20, 2023 11:44 PM
Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

A delegation consisting of Arab and Islamic foreign ministers is visiting China from Monday to Tuesday. On Monday, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the delegation and had in-depth talks on ways to de-escalate the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict, protect civilians and seek a just settlement of the Palestinian question. 

At the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 11, leaders from the Arab and Muslim world called for humanitarian aid and an end to the war in the Gaza Strip, which is highly consistent with China's position on resolving the ongoing conflict.

De-escalating the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict and protecting civilians are clearly the tasks that the Arab and Islamic countries, and many other countries including China hope to accomplish in the near future on the Palestinian question, while seeking a just settlement of the Palestinian question is a long-term pursuit due to its complexity. Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times that the China trip of the delegation is expected to correct the long-term marginalization of the Palestinian question and make the international community pay more attention to it.

Beijing is the first stop of the delegation's tour, signifying how much Arab-Islamic countries value China's constructive role in promoting peace in the Middle East. Over the years, China has repeatedly emphasized on various bilateral and multilateral occasions the importance of solving the Palestinian question through the two-state solution, stressing that the question as the core of the Middle East issue and cannot be marginalized. 

This has led to a great sense of trust from Arab-Islamic countries in China's role in the Middle East issues.

Experts believe that as the new round of the Palestine-Israel conflict continues, the US, which has, for a long time, resolutely supported Israel against Hamas since the outbreak of the war, is slowly adjusting its attitude. The main dilemma Washington faces now is that it does not want to become too involved in the regional conflict in the Middle East, while also trying to stand with its ally Israel and maintain its dominance over Middle East regional affairs. Therefore, the US will keep changing its policy over the Palestine-Israel conflict based on its needs and circumstances, noted Liu.

Regarding the Palestinian question, China's attitude has always been consistent. In the Middle East, China has always supported peaceful solutions to hotspot issues and disputes through political settlement. In particular, in the event of armed conflict, it has always taken the position of promoting peace by calling for a ceasefire and an end to violence. Such a position, shared by the vast majority of countries in the world, has naturally been widely welcomed by the global community, including the Arab-Islamic countries.

At the same time, China has maintained friendly relations and smooth communication channels with almost all parties in the region. It has adopted a fair and balanced position when handling issues in the Middle East. This is also an important reason why Arab-Islamic countries generally believe that China is a genuine force that pursues peace and justice.

China has been playing the role of a facilitator of security and stability, a partner of development and prosperity, and a promoter of unity in the Middle East, demonstrating the country's role as a responsible great power. One of the most recent notable examples of China's contribution to regional stability is the resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March under China's mediation.

"I am quite optimistic that China is willing and will do its best to help bring peace to the Middle East," Gong Xiaosheng, former Chinese special envoy on the Middle East issue, told the Global Times. "I believe that if the Arab countries and Israel have the willingness, we are happy to facilitate peace talks between the two sides in China."