Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will make a state visit to China next week, Beijing said Friday, after China said it was ready to help facilitate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
“At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President of the state of Palestine Mahmud Abbas will pay a state visit to China from June 13 to 16,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang in April told his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts that his country was willing to aid peace negotiations.
The separate phone calls between Qin and the Israeli and Palestinian top diplomats came as Beijing positions itself as a regional mediator.
Qin encouraged “steps to resume peace talks” and said that “China is ready to provide convenience for this,” in a phone call with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Xinhua reported.
And Qin told Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki that Beijing supports the resumption of talks as soon as possible, according to the state news agency.
In both calls Qin emphasised China’s push for peace talks on the basis of implementing a “two-state solution.”
“President Abbas is an old and good friend of the Chinese people,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing later on Friday.
“He is the first Arab head of state received by China this year, fully embodying the high level of China-Palestine good relations, which have traditionally been friendly,” he added.
“The Palestinian issue is the core of the Middle East issue. It bears on peace and stability in the Middle East and on international fairness and justice.”
China has been on a recent diplomatic offensive, brokering the restoration of ties in March between Iran and Saudi Arabia — rivals in a region where the United States for decades has been the main powerbroker. Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been stalled since 2014.