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China offers to mediate between Israel and Palestine


Source: Global Times    Published: 2017-7-21


China has offered to establish a new, trilateral dialogue mechanism with the Palestine and Israel to settle their conflicts, and seeks to defuse tensions in the Middle East by pushing forward the Belt and Road initiative, President Xi Jinping told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing.

"China regards both Palestine and Israel as important partners along the Belt and Road, and stands ready to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation in line with the idea of promoting peace with development to support Palestine hasten its development," Xi said, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

Abbas visited China from July 17 to 20, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

During the meeting, Xi also said China is planning to hold a seminar with experts on Palestine and Israel to generate ideas for a peaceful resolution of the issue.

China stands for "promoting peace with development" as it pushes for the Belt and Road initiative in the Middle East.

Poverty is a key reason for the radicalization of Arab youth in the region, so development and peace are interdependent and mutually promoted, and we should simultaneously push peace and development, said Hua Liming, a Middle East studies expert and a former Chinese Ambassador to Iran.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also met with Abbas, and said that "peace and development are preconditions and guarantee each other."

Xi said we should "uphold a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept," and "China proposes to launch the China-Palestine-Israel trilateral dialogue mechanism and coordinate and push forward major projects to aid Palestine."

China has delivered humanitarian aid to Palestine, but because some areas are under Israeli control, Chinese goods cannot enter these areas. That`s why China proposes to launch a trilateral dialogue mechanism because the further development of Palestine needs Israel`s cooperation, Wu said.

"Israel cares more about its security, but in order to make security sustainable, we must help Palestine`s development and promote mutual exchanges, so development should be in both sides` common interest," Wu said.

"Together with Palestine, China is prepared to develop the Belt and Road and support qualified Chinese companies invest and cooperate in Palestine to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results," Xi said.

China is ready to cooperate with Palestine in developing industrial parks, training and building a solar power station to help Palestine become more self-reliant, Xi said.

Greater involvement

China is becoming increasingly active in Mideast issues, including the Palestinian issue.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press conference Thursday that "the Palestinian issue is a crucial issue in the Middle East. The region can achieve peace and development only when this issue is reasonably and justly solved."

"Disputes and conflicts in the Middle East, such as the Saudi Arabia-Qatar dispute, Syrian civil war and the Islamic State, have already interrupted the Belt and Road initiative. Therefore, many Middle East problems concern China," said Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China.

"Mediating in the conflict between Palestine and Israel is a good opportunity for China to contribute more in the region," Wang said.

Although Israel and Palestine are small, they are geographically important, so they are China`s key partners in pushing the Belt and Road initiative, Hua said.

Compared with the US and Russia, China`s advantage in the region is "we have no enemies and we never choose sides, but we need to be very careful when mediating the issue. Do not widen the existing conflict," said Chu Yin, an associate professor at the University of International Relations.


Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

Key Words:China  media  Middle East  Wang Yiwei  

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