Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to make official state visit to China

Abbas will be the first Arab 'head of state' to visit China this year, according to Beijing


(JNS) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will make a “state visit” to China this week.

The invitation was announced by a spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry as Beijing attempts to position itself as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“[The] president of the state of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas will pay a state visit to China from 13 to 16,” assistant minister of foreign affairs Hua Chunying said.

Abbas will be the “first Arab head of state received by China this year, embodying the high level of China-Palestine good relations, which have traditionally been friendly”, another ministry representative, Wang Wenbin said.

Last December, when China's President Xi met with Abbas in Saudi Arabia, he promised that Beijing would continue to work on an “early, just and durable solution to the Palestinian issue", and in March, the country brokered a restoration of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Beijing recognised the state of Palestine in 1988 and established full diplomatic relations at the end of 1989. Diplomatic relations with Israel were established in 1992. 

Israel and China enjoy strong economic and business ties. In March they participated in the first direct talks on a free trade agreement since November 2019, and the eighth round since 2016. China is Israel’s second-largest trading partner after the United States.

A YouGov survey conducted in May for the English-language Middle East newspaper Arab News found 80 per cent of Palestinians with a clear opinion on the topic were in favour of a Chinese role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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