Official media reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a four-day visit that comes at a time when the Asian giant is looking for mediating roles in the current conflicts in the Middle East.
On his fifth visit to Beijing, Abbas will meet with a number of senior Chinese officials, led by President Xi Jinping, according to the Palestinian official news agency, Wafa.
According to Wafa, during the summit between Xi and Abbas, “they will discuss strengthening bilateral relations and exchanging opinions on the latest developments in the Palestinian cause, and regional and international issues of common concern.”
Last week, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that Abbas “is the first Arab head of state that China has received this year, which fully embodies the high level of traditionally good and friendly China-Palestinian relations.”
A challenge to American influence in the Arab region
Wenbin added, “President Abbas is an old friend of the Chinese people… and China has always strongly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights.”
Beijing seeks to play mediating roles in the Middle East, and its mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia resulted in the resumption of diplomatic relations by the two rival countries in March.
China spares no effort to strengthen its relationship with the Middle East in defiance of the deeply rooted American influence in this region.
In December, Xi visited Saudi Arabia, where he also met the Palestinian president and pledged to “seek an early, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue.”
In an interview with the official Xinhua news agency, Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said, “China and Palestine are closer friends than brothers.”
The Palestinian official expressed his happiness “because China has begun to take on a much larger role than in the past in the Middle East since the Arab-Chinese summit” that was held last year.