China pledges $1 million for Palestinians


BEIJING (JTA) — China pledged $1 million in aid to the Palestinians and called for a cease-fire.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Tuesday that China is deeply concerned over the armed conflict in the Gaza Strip.

"We grieve over the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip," he told journalists. "We appeal to relevant parties to immediately stop military actions."

In addition to the $1 million China pledged Tuesday to the Palestinian Authority, the Chinese spokesman emphasized that in the future China "will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestine."

Qin Gang added that China was committed to both the implementation of President Bush’s "road map" for peace, as well as the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by the Arab League, which calls for a return to pre-1967 borders.

Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao spoke by telephone Sunday about the current crisis in the Middle East, and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi communicated China’s position to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice canceled a planned trip to China this week to mark 30 years of U.S.-Chinese diplomatic relations because of the Israel-Hamas violence. It was to be her last foreign travel before the end of Bush’s term in office.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, China’s special envoy on the Middle East, Sun Bigan, and other foreign ministry officials have been meeting with Israeli and Palestinian diplomats in China to promote peace talks.

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