China eyes larger role in ending Gaza crisis

BEIJING (JTA) — China’s special Mideast envoy was set to travel to Israel, as the country said it would increase its involvement in solving the Gaza conflict. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhang Yu told reporters in Beijing Tuesday that "China will continue to support the mediation efforts of Egypt and other parties," one day after China’s special envoy on the Middle East, Sun Bigan, met in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit to discuss the Chinese government’s position on the Gaza crisis.

China has called on all parties to abide by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1860, ending military activities in Gaza. China also called for humanitarian relief measures, including a stable channel for aid supplies, said Sun, as well as a cease-fire monitoring mechanism in Gaza.

Sun added that China hopes for a resumption of talks leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and that China would join the international community in pressing for a comprehensive solution to the crisis.

Meanwhile, as part of his current tour around Africa, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met Monday with Omani Foreign Affairs Minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, where he said the Chinese government wants to improve relations between China and the Arab world, and work with Arab countries toward resolving the current conflict in Gaza.

Also in Beijing this week, Zbigniew Brzezinski urged China to increase its involvement in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which he said "increasingly poses the risk of a radicalized and dangerously unstable Middle East."

Brzezinski, the national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, spoke at a seminar with Carter commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States.

In his remarks, Carter referred to the strength of the Israeli lobby in Washington and compared it to the influential Taiwanese lobby of the late 1970s.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the first Confucius Institute to help non-native speakers learn Chinese opened in Tehran Monday. China’s ambassador to Iran, Xie Xiaoyan, praised the friendship and cooperation between China and Iran, and University of Tehran President Farhad Rahbar said he looked forward to more exchanges between Chinese and Iranian universities.
 

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