(Tribune News Service) — China is hosting senior officials from mostly Middle Eastern nations for “in-depth” talks on deescalating the Israel-Hamas conflict, as Beijing tries to bolster its credentials as a global peacemaker.
Top foreign policy officials from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are among those visiting Beijing on Monday and Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Iran will not be represented at the talks, according to the attendee list provided.
The discussions will touch on protecting civilians and seeking a “just settlement of the Palestinian question,” according to the statement.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a media event with the visitors on Monday that the international community must “take effective and credible measures to stop the tragedies from going any further” in Gaza.
He added that China was working to ensure a “just and durable settlement of the question of Palestine,” though he didn’t provide details on what his nation was specifically doing.
Egypt’s top envoy, Sameh Shoukry, said Arab and Islamic nations are hoping “great powers” like China will assume a bigger role in dealing with the crisis. That’s needed because “there are, unfortunately, major nations that provide cover for the current Israeli attacks,” he said, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry. He renewed Egypt’s rejection of what he called a declared policy to displace Palestinians from Gaza.
China has been trying to portray itself as a force for peace in the Middle East since March, when it helped broker a detente between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Beijing also hosted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in June, some four months before Hamas attacked Israel.
During that visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed an international peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. China has in recent weeks reiterated its desire for an independent Palestinian state and called for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Nicholas Burns, the U.S.’s top diplomat in China, last month urged Beijing to denounce terrorism by Hamas, and cited its stance toward the group as yet another challenge in ties between the world’s biggest economies.
Last month, a U.S. delegation to Beijing led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asked China to use its links with Iran to try to keep the fighting in Gaza from spreading.
With assistance from Tarek El-Tablawy.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.