Xi calls for a Palestinian state to become a ‘full member’ of the UN

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing (Jade GAO)

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing (Jade GAO)

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday his call for a state of Palestine to become a “full member” of the United Nations, state media reported.

Xi voiced Beijing’s position at a summit with Arab countries in Saudi Arabia in December, although the latest call comes as the Asian powerhouse seeks to strengthen its role as mediator in the Middle East.

Xi met Abbas during the December trip and pledged to “work for an early, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue.”

Beijing has since positioned itself as a mediator in the Middle East, negotiating the restoration in March of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, rivals in a region where the United States has for decades been the main power broker.

“China supports Palestine to become a full member state of the United Nations,” Xi said during a meeting with Abbas in Beijing, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

“The fundamental solution to the Palestinian problem lies in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” he said.

Abbas will be in the Chinese capital until Friday, his fifth official visit to the world’s second-largest economy.

Xi told Abbas during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People that China was “ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the Palestinian side.”

“Today, we will jointly announce the establishment of a China-Palestine strategic partnership, which will be a milestone in the history of bilateral relations,” Xi said.

– ‘Old and good friend’ –

Abbas arrived in Beijing on Monday for talks with top Chinese leaders, including Xi and Premier Li Qiang.

The two sides are taking the opportunity to discuss ways to advance relations and resolve long-standing issues in Palestinian-Israeli relations.

Beijing has sought to strengthen its ties in the Middle East, challenging US influence – efforts that have caused unease in Washington.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called longtime Palestinian leader Abbas an “old and good friend of the Chinese people” during a regular press briefing last week.

Finding a lasting solution to Israeli-Palestinian tensions may prove difficult, as peace talks between the two sides have stalled since 2014.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts in April that his country was willing to help with peace talks, Xinhua reported.

And Qin told Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki that Beijing supports resuming talks as soon as possible, according to the state news agency.

In both calls, Qin highlighted China’s efforts for peace talks based on the implementation of a “two-state solution”.


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