Palestinian president to visit China next week
BEIJING, June 9, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will
make a state visit to China next week, Beijing said Friday, after China
expressed readiness to help facilitate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Beijing has positioned itself as a mediator in the Middle East, brokering the
restoration of ties in March between Iran and Saudi Arabia -- rivals in a
region where the United States has for decades been the main powerbroker.
"At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, president of the state of
Palestine Mahmud Abbas will pay a state visit to China from June 13 to 16,"
foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Friday.
"He is the first Arab head of state received by China this year, fully
embodying the high level of China-Palestine good relations, which have
traditionally been friendly," ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular
Abbas is an "old and good friend of the Chinese people", he added.
"China has always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people
to restore their legitimate national rights."
Beijing has sought to boost its ties to the Middle East, challenging long-
standing US influence there -- efforts that have drawn rebukes from
Xi last December visited Saudi Arabia on an Arab outreach visit that also saw
him meet with Abbas and pledge to "work for an early, just and durable
solution to the Palestinian issue".
And during a trip to Riyadh this week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said
Saudi Arabia was not being forced to choose between Washington and Beijing,
striking a conciliatory tone following tensions with the long-time ally.
Blinken has also this week sought to mediate Israel-Palestinian tension,
urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to undermine prospects
for a Palestinian state.
Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been stalled since 2014.
In April, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang told his Israeli and Palestinian
counterparts that his country was willing to aid peace negotiations, Xinhua
And Qin told Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki that Beijing
supports the resumption of talks as soon as possible, according to the state
In both calls Qin emphasised China's push for peace talks on the basis of
implementing a "two-state solution".
"The Palestinian issue is the core of the Middle East issue. It bears on
peace and stability in the Middle East and on international fairness and