China is beefing up its diplomatic power by holding a large meeting with foreign ministers from Middle Eastern countries in Beijing on Monday as it seeks to exert influence in the Israel-Hamas war.
The country’s top diplomat hosted ministers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Indonesia, and said the country would work with “our brethren” in the Arab-Islamic world to end the Gaza war as soon as possible. Ta.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told diplomats that the decision to visit China was a sign of high confidence in the country.
In his opening remarks at the State Guest House before the talks began, Wang said, “China is a good friend and brother to Arab and Islamic countries.” “We have always firmly defended the legitimate rights and interests of Arab (and) Islamic countries and have always steadfastly supported the cause of the Palestinian people.”
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The talks demonstrate both China’s growing geopolitical influence and its longstanding support for the Palestinians and a Palestinian state.
China has long supported Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and often criticizes Israeli settlements in the area. Notably, China has not criticized Hamas’s first attack on October 7, which killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, while the United States and others claim it was an act of terrorism. It is.
Prince Faisal announced over the weekend that five foreign ministers would visit a number of capitals to seek a ceasefire, win support for Gaza and end the war. Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha will also accompany him to Beijing.
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Notably, while China publicly supports Islamic leaders and their respective countries in the Middle East, a United Nations report released in 2022 found that the Chinese government It was determined that “serious human rights violations” were committed in the detention of ethnic groups. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in western China.
The 48-page UN report warned that the “arbitrary and discriminatory detention” of these groups in Xinjiang “consists of depriving them of their fundamental rights…” [which] May constitute an international crime, in particular a crime against humanity. ”
The paper cited a “pattern of torture” within the vocational centers carried out by the Chinese government as part of its economic development plans for the region. The report also noted “credible” allegations of torture and ill-treatment, including incidents of sexual violence.
In talks on Monday, the Saudi foreign minister called for an immediate ceasefire and the entry of humanitarian aid and relief into the Gaza Strip.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said: “There are still dangerous developments ahead of us and an urgent humanitarian crisis that requires international mobilization to address and counter it.”
He appreciated the UN Security Council resolution calling for an extension of the emergency humanitarian suspension in Gaza, but said: “More efforts and cooperation are still needed.”
Israel’s ambassador to China, Irit Ben Aba, said on Monday that his country is working with international organizations to ensure adequate humanitarian aid to Gaza, adding that “pressuring Israel in this regard is not politically motivated.” “This does not contribute to the ongoing humanitarian assistance.” Is required. ”
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China, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States, has become increasingly outspoken on international affairs, even directly engaging some countries in recent days.
In March, China helped broker an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore relations after seven years of tension. This agreement places China squarely in the position of international consensus builder, long held by world powers such as the United States and Russia.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.