Touring the Middle East, Beijing’s special envoy Zhai Jun expresses concern about risk of widening conflict.
China is willing to do “whatever is conducive” to promote dialogue, secure a ceasefire and restore peace amid the deepening conflict in Gaza, China’s state media has reported, citing the country’s special envoy on the Middle East.
Veteran diplomat Zhai Jun is currently on a tour of the region and described the situation in Gaza as “very serious”, state-run China Central Television said on Monday. He also said a potential large-scale ground conflict and armed conflicts spreading to neighbouring countries were “worrisome”.
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China will continue close communication with all parties in the international community, said Zhai, who took part in Sunday’s Cairo peace summit, where United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for swift “action to end this godawful nightmare” after two weeks of war between Israel and the armed group Hamas.
The latest conflict erupted on October 7 after Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel killing at least 1,400 people and taking more than 200 captive. Israel responded with force, declaring war on the besieged Gaza Strip and subjecting the territory to relentless bombardment. At least 4,651 Palestinians have been killed so far.
At the Cairo meeting, Zhai called for an “immediate ceasefire and an end to the fighting as quickly as possible”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
“China believes that force is not a way to resolve the problem and that responding to violence with violence will only lead to a vicious circle of revenge,” Zhai said.
Beijing has maintained good relations with Israel but has also supported the Palestinian cause for decades.
The Chinese envoy is on a diplomatic tour of the region, aimed at trying to secure an avenue for humanitarian supplies into the territory and work towards a ceasefire. He has already held phone calls with foreign ministers from countries including Palestine and Israel as well as with representatives from the UN and European Union.
The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened at the weekend to allow some aid trucks into Gaza, with a convoy of 17 trucks carrying medical aid, food and water entering the territory on Sunday. Gaza is home to some 2.3 million people.