CAIRO (Dec. 21)
Chinese Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang, elaborating on a statement he made before departing for Cairo yesterday, suggested today that if Israel withdrew from occupied Arab territories and allowed for the establishment of a Palestinian state, his country would acknowledge her “right to existence and independence.” But he drew a clear line between acknowledging Israel’s right to exist and extending official recognition.
In his statement at Peking Airport at the start of a month-long tour that will include 10 Africa countries, the Chinese Prime Minister said that providing Israel relinquished the territories occupied since 1967 and the Palestinians were given a state,” all Middle East countries have the right to enjoy independence and security.”
Addressing a joint press conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Zhao reiterated those conditions, adding “It is on this basis that the countries of the Middle East have the right to existence and independence, including, of course, Israel.”
But the Chinese Premier immediately qualified this statement, making clear that his country was not offering conditional recognition to Israel.
“To say that the countries have the right to independence and existence and to recognize a country or a state are two entirely different things,” Zhao said. “This is a matter of common sense that requires no further explanation.”
SUPPORTS ALL PLANS THAT WILL ACHIEVE PEACE
China, during a recent visit to Peking by an Arab League delegation headed by King Hussein of Jordan, declared its support for the Arab plan issued at Fez, Morocco, last September, which calls for Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of all states in the region to exist within secure borders.
Asked whether he saw a role for the proposal introduced by President Reagan or the French-Egyptian initiative presented as a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council last summer, the Chinese Premier said that his country supported “all the proposals and plans aimed at achieving a just solution to the Middle East problem.” But he added that the specific plan to be chosen was a “choice to be made by the Arab countries and the PLO.”
Zhao, the first Chinese Prime Minister to visit the continent in 19 years, is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali tomorrow for discussions that will include the Middle East peace process, bilateral relations and the non-aligned movement.