Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, his first public comments since the conflict broke out at the start of October.
(Bloomberg) — Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, his first public comments since the conflict broke out at the start of October.
China is willing to step up coordination with Egypt and other Arabic countries “to push for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue as soon as possible,” Xi told visiting Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly in Beijing Thursday, according to a transcript from the foreign ministry.
“It is imperative that a ceasefire be put in place as soon as possible to prevent the conflict from expanding or even spiraling out of control, and creating a serious humanitarian crisis,” Xi added. He repeated that the fundamental answer is to implement the two-state solution and establish an independent Palestinian nation, a longstanding stance of Beijing.
The remarks represent the first time the Chinese leader has spoken publicly on the Israel—Hamas war. China has been facing increasing pressure for failing to condemn Hamas, which Europe and the US have designated as a terrorist group. There was also pressure on Beijing to provide any specific offer of immediate assistance, especially as Xi seeks to play global peacemaker by helping long-time rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran reach a diplomatic truce.
Last week, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer directly confronted Xi about Beijing’s position, telling the Chinese leader in a rare meeting that he was “disappointed” the Asian nation showed “no sympathy” for the Israeli people. Xi didn’t address those criticisms back then, only saying publicly during a meeting with Schumer: “We have a thousand reasons to make US-China relations better, and no reason to make them worse.”
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