BEIJING – China on Monday renewed calls for the U.S. to play a constructive role in ending the conflict in Gaza and stop blocking efforts at the United Nations to demand an end to the bloodshed.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China, as rotating head of the Security Council, has urged a cease-fire and the provision of humanitarian assistance, among other proposals, but that obstruction by “one country” has prevented the council from speaking with one voice.
“We call on the United States to assume its due responsibility and take an impartial position to support the council and play its due role in cooling down the situation and rebuilding trust for a political solution,” Zhao said at a daily briefing.
At an emergency high-level meeting of the Security Council on Sunday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the U.S. to join the 14 other council members and support a statement urging a halt to the violence and reaffirming support for a two-state solution to the decades old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Wang, who chaired the virtual meeting, said the “dangerous and urgent” situation calls for an immediate cease-fire.
“The international community must take action right now and make further efforts to avert a deterioration of the situation, prevent the region from backsliding to turbulence, and protect peoples’ lives,” he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao said Monday that China “strongly condemns” violence against civilians and calls for an end to air strikes, ground attacks, rocket fire and “other actions that aggravate the situation.”.
Israel should “exercise restraint, effectively comply with the relevant United Nations resolutions, stop demolishing Palestinian people’s houses, stop expelling Palestinian people and stop expanding its settlement program, stop threats of violence and provocations against Muslims, and maintain and respect the historical status quo of Jerusalem as a religious holy site,” Zhao said.
Calls have grown for the Biden administration to take a more active stance on the Israeli-Palestinian violence. Thus far, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has blocked efforts by China, Norway and Tunisia to get the Security Council to issue a statement, including a call for a cessation of hostilities.
China has long portrayed itself as a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, while building closer political, economic and military links with Israel.
Wang told the council that “China will scale-up efforts to promote peace talks” and he reaffirmed Beijing’s invitation “to Palestinian and Israeli peace advocates to continue their dialogue in China.”
He welcomed “representatives of the two sides to come to China for direct negotiations.”