Xi says China wants to work with Arab states to resolve hot spot issues By Reuters

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BEIJING (Reuters) -China wants to work with Arab nations to resolve hot spot issues in ways conducive to upholding fairness, justice and achieving long-term peace and stability, President Xi Jinping said in a speech on Thursday that also highlighted the Gaza crisis.

China is seeking to strengthen its relations with Arab states as a model for maintaining world peace and stability, Xi was quoted as saying by state media at the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing.

In remarks about the war in Gaza, the Chinese leader said war cannot continue indefinitely, justice cannot be permanently absent and a “two-state solution” should be firmly upheld.

“In the face of a turbulent world, mutual respect is the way to live in harmony, and fairness and justice are the foundation of lasting security,” Xi was quoted as saying by Xinhua news.

He was addressing the heads of state of Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia as well as foreign ministers from other Arab League nations.

Beijing has repeatedly called for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli crisis as well as an immediate ceasefire and Palestinian membership in the United Nations – positions which align closely with those of Arab nations.

China is increasingly flexing its diplomatic influence in the region, recently hosting the first talks on Chinese soil between the long-feuding Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah in April. Last year, China also brokered a landmark reconciliation deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia after years of hostilities between the two arch-rivals.

The Gaza crisis has threatened to push the region into a wider conflict, especially after recent tit-for-tat attacks by Israel and Iran.

“China should understand that cooperation between Arab countries and the United States will definitely take place. I believe that the ongoing Gaza-Israel war and the Palestinian issue will definitely be the focus of this meeting, and both sides will definitely reiterate the two-state solution to the Palestinian issue,” said Hongda Fan, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University.

Xi said China would continue to support alleviating the humanitarian crisis, and post-war rebuilding in Gaza, pledging to provide another 500 million yuan ($69 million) in emergency humanitarian assistance.

China will also donate $3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to support its emergency assistance to the Gaza region, Xi said.

He said China would further cooperate with Arab states on several fronts including in the oil and gas fields, as well as larger-scale investments.

Xi committed support for Chinese energy companies and financial institutions to participate in renewable energy projects with a total installed capacity of more than 3 million kilowatts in Arab countries.

China is a massive buyer of Gulf energy and in 2023 bilateral trade between China and the Gulf stood at $286.9 billion, according to Chinese customs data, with Saudi Arabia accounting for nearly 40% of that trade.

© Reuters. China’s Politburo Standing Committee member Cai Qi, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, China’s President Xi Jinping, United Arab Emirates’ President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a family photo ahead of the opening ceremony of the 10th Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China May 30, 2024. JADE GAO/Pool via REUTERS

Xi said China will host the second China-Arab States Summit in 2026.

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