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China Calls for Gaza Ceasefire, Pushes Peace Talks on Ukraine

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China Calls for Gaza Ceasefire, Peace Talks on Ukraine

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi repeated calls for international peace talks on Gaza and Ukraine, while reaffirming Beijing’s support for Palestine as he faced the press during the annual meeting of China’s top legislative and political advisory bodies.

Wang’s remarks during the “two sessions” on Thursday came as the world watched closely to see how Beijing would respond to the twin wars that have had international ramifications.

Wang described the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip as a “disgrace for civilization,” emphasizing the necessity of peaceful coexistence between “Arab and Jewish nations,” as well as a stable European continent, but avoiding direct criticism of either side.

In answer to an Egyptian reporter’s inquiry about the situation in Gaza and the blockade of humanitarian aid to its beleaguered people, Wang stated that “an immediate ceasefire” was the “overriding priority”.

“It is a tragedy for humanity and a disgrace for civilization that this humanitarian disaster cannot be stopped today, in the twenty-first century,” Wang said, calling for all international humanitarian help to be sent to the strip.

Wang also stated that China backed Palestine’s full UN membership while advocating for a “two-state solution” to the conflict with Israel.

“We support Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations,” Wang said, urging “individual Security Council members to refrain from placing obstacles in its way” – a veiled jab at the US.

China’s Support of Palestine

China supports “the convening of a larger, more authoritative, and more effective international peace conference” to carry out such a solution, he added.

The Palestinian envoy to the UN stated in January that they could pursue full UN membership this year, having becoming a non-member observer state 12 years ago. In 2012, nine countries voted against the status upgrading, including Israel and its key ally, the United States.

The United States was the only permanent Security Council member to do so. This casts doubt on Palestinian attempts to become full members, as any vote on UN membership must be approved by the council before being presented to the General Assembly.

However, in contrast to other Chinese diplomats’ recent remarks pushing Israel to halt its attacks on Gaza, Wang appeared to be wary about outright condemnation.

China wants Israel and Palestine can “coexist peacefully,” Wang stated, the only time he used the Jewish nation’s full Chinese name.

He also asked for the release of all “detained people,” an apparent reference to the captives captured by Palestinian militant group Hamas during their deadly cross-border operation on October 7, which prompted Israel’s military response.

Regarding the Ukraine issue, Wang once again called for an international peace conference to resolve it, but made no mention of any specific party involved.

China’s top diplomat says Beijing welcomes Ukraine-Russia summit at ‘appropriate time’

China’s stable relations with Russia and Ukraine, as well as its historic success in brokering a diplomatic rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran last year, have elevated Beijing’s status as a potential new global mediator.

Peace Talks for Ukriane

Last year, Chinese envoys conducted extraordinary shuttle diplomacy across combat zones. Li Hui, China’s special envoy for Eurasia, visited Ukraine and Russia in May, while Zhai Jun, the Middle East envoy, went to the region after the Gaza conflict broke out, but did not visit Israel.

Beijing has also issued position papers on both crises, urging a cease-fire and peace talks in either case.

However, a cautious approach and limited reach on the Ukrainian and Gazan battlefields are putting Beijing’s true might as a growing mediator to the test.

Wang, who serves as foreign minister and director of the ruling Communist Party’s foreign affairs bureau, is the country’s most senior diplomat in decades. While he has been to Russia, he has yet to visit Ukraine, Israel, or Palestine.

In contrast, his American equivalent, Antony Blinken, has visited Ukraine and the Middle East several times in the last few months.

When Wang met with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference last month, he stated that conditions were not yet ripe for peace talks and that Russia and Ukraine’s concerns should be considered.

On Thursday, when asked when discussions to settle the situation that has lasted more than two years would resume, he answered, “The end of any conflict is the negotiating table.” “The sooner you speak, the sooner peace will arrive.”

Source: SCMP

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