China-Palestine Establish Strategic Partnership, Abbas In Beijing

abbas

China Central Television (CCTV) said: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced during their meeting in Beijing on Wednesday the establishment of a bilateral strategic partnership.

“Today, we have jointly announced the establishment of a Chinese-Palestinian strategic partnership, which will become an important milestone in the history of bilateral relations,” CCTV quoted Xi as saying.

The Chinese president stated that Beijing was ready to take this opportunity to pursue a comprehensive level of cooperation with Palestine in various fields.

“Having encountered epochal global changes and new challenges in the Middle East, China is ready to strengthen its coordination and cooperation with Palestine to promote an all-encompassing, just and longstanding resolution of the Palestinian issue,” Xi added.

Abbas is paying an official visit to China between June 13 and 16 at the invitation of Xi.

Xi has said that he is willing to promote peace talks between Israel and Palestine with the aid of establishing an independent Palestinian state. In recent months, Beijing has emerged as a powerful mediator in the Middle East, and a potential peacemaker in Ukraine.

“We are good friends and partners,” the Chinese leader told Abbas, adding that his government has “always supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights.”

Xi told Abbas that he was “willing to play an active role in helping Palestine achieve internal reconciliation and promote peace talks.”

“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 stated, reiterating China’s long-standing support for a 1967 UN Security Council resolution demanding that Israel withdraw from territories occupied during the Arab-Israeli War.

China’s proposal calls for an independent Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders – with East Jerusalem as its capital, increased development and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, an end to provocative actions and the creation of conditions for peace talks through larger-scale international meetings.

Israel rejects this resolution, and its troops continue to occupy the West Bank and East Jerusalem, building illegal settlements in the former and considering the latter a part of its capital city. Although Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it maintains a near-total blockade on the densely-populated strip.

Peace talks aimed at reaching a two-state solution – in which the Palestinians would have full sovereignty over Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem – broke down in 2014. U.S. President Joe Biden publicly supports this solution, but recognizes East Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and despite criticizing Israel’s West Bank settlements, has blocked efforts by the UN Security Council to formally condemn the policy.

Xi Offers 3-point Proposal For Lasting Solution To Conflict With Israel

Other media reports including reports by the Palestinian Wafa and China’s Xinhua news agencies said:

Chinese President Xi Jinping has restated Beijing’s willingness to “play a positive role” in finding an early and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The renewed mediation offer came as Xi met visiting Abbas in Beijing on Wednesday, where they announced the setting up of a bilateral strategic partnership.

Hailing their relationship as one between good friends and partners, Xi also proposed a three-point solution to the Palestinian issue.

Xi said Abbas was the first Arab leader to be welcomed by China this year, which fully demonstrated the “high-level” of bilateral relations.

“China and Palestine are good friends and good partners who trust and support each other,” Xi said. “Facing a changing world [with events never before seen] in 100 years and new changes in the Middle East, China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Palestine to promote an early, comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestine issue,” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

“Today, we jointly announced the establishment of the China-Palestinian strategic partnership, which will be an important milestone in the history of bilateral relations,” he said.

Xi also reaffirmed China’s willingness to “play a positive role” to push for peace talks on the Palestinian issue, as he put forward a new three-point solution.

Abbas thanked Beijing for its political support for Palestinians and briefed Xi on the ongoing tensions with Israel.

He also discussed efforts to mobilise international support for Palestine to obtain a full membership at the United Nations, as well as ways to enhance relations with China in “all fields.”

China For Peace Talks Between Palestine And Israel

Media reports said:

China had also offered to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in April when Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke over the phone with their respective foreign ministers.

China has also ramped up criticism against Israel over its illegal expansion of settlements in the occupied territories, and called for multiple emergency meetings at the United Nations in response to conflicts at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Gaza Strip.

This comes amid a shifting geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East after a China-brokered peace deal saw ties restored between Saudi Arabia and Iran after seven years of hostilities, and Saudi Arabia and Syria agreed to restore diplomatic ties last month after nearly a decade.

Meeting his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in Beijing on Tuesday, Qin reaffirmed China’s support for a peaceful resolution of the Palestine issue amid “profound changes in the Middle East.”

“The situation in the Middle East is undergoing profound changes, and strengthening strategic autonomy and enhancing solidarity and cooperation are the common aspiration and general trend,” Qin said, according to a readout from China’s foreign ministry.

“China attaches great importance to the Palestinian issue and has always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights. China will continue to support the right direction of the peace talks and contribute Chinese wisdom and strength to the settlement of the Palestinian issue.”

China has proposed initiatives and organized peace talks on the Palestinian issue several times during Xi’s term but without substantial results.

In separate meetings in 2013, Xi proposed a four-point peace initiative to Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The initiative called for a “two-state solution”, a halt to settlement activities in the occupied territories, coordinated international efforts to resolve the conflict, and a focus on Palestinian development.

The proposal was expanded in 2017 during Abbas’ last visit, with a call for a three-way dialogue with both the Israelis and Palestinians, and support for Palestinian development through China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

In April, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang held separate conversations with Israeli and Palestinian diplomats, declaring afterwards that Beijing was ready to aid in negotiations. This offer came less than a month after Xi negotiated the resumption of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia after a seven-year freeze.

The deal represented China’s first successful foray into Middle Eastern diplomacy, an arena in which the U.S. has for decades acted as the chief influencer. It also established China as a credible middleman.

For Abbas, the meeting with Xi was also aimed at securing tangible short-term benefits. The two leaders signed several bilateral cooperation agreements on Tuesday, with Abbas stating that “we especially appreciate the Chinese side’s commitment to financing a number of development projects presented by Palestine.”

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