China's President Urges Netanyahu and Abbas To Return to Negotiations

Move Signals China's Desire To Increase Their Role in the Middle East

Handshake: President Xi and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet in China this week.
Getty Images
Handshake: President Xi and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet in China this week.

By Reuters

Published May 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

China’s President Xi Jinping urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to restart peace talks with the Palestinians as soon as possible, days after he tried to convince Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to revive discussions.

Xi’s comments to Netanyahu and Abbas this week reflect China’s intent to strengthen its diplomatic role in a region where its influence has historically been weak. On Monday, Xi floated China’s “four-point proposal” for peace with Abbas, who was visiting China in the same week as Netanyahu.

The moves by China come as the United States is engaged in a fresh diplomatic campaign to revive peace talks, which collapsed in 2010 over Israel’s continued expansion of settlements.

Netanyahu - the first top Israeli leader to visit China since former prime minister Ehud Olmert in 2007 - met Xi on Thursday, part of a five-day visit to China aimed at boosting bilateral trade with China.

“I hope the two sides can make joint efforts to take practical measures to gradually build up mutual trust, to restart peace talks as soon as possible and achieve substantive progress,” Xi told Netanyahu, according to a statement carried on the website of China’s foreign ministry late on Thursday.

“Only by protecting the legitimate rights and interests of all countries, having respect for each other’s concerns can there be true realisation of regional peace and stability,” Xi told Netanyahu.

Xi, who took office in March, did not outline any specific proposals for the resumption of peace talks to Netanyahu, who did not meet Abbas in China.

Netanyahu told Xi that “Israel is well aware of the pain caused by war, welcomes and desires peace, and is willing to achieve peace through negotiations,” according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

Netanyahu’s remarks come amid reports that he has quietly curbed new building projects in Jewish settlements, in an apparent bid to help U.S. efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinians.

China has traditionally had a low profile in Middle East diplomacy, but is keen to assert its role as a force in international politics.

Beijing has maintained close relations with the Palestinians for decades. In recent years it has also cultivated ties with Israel, though Israel is wary of China’s links with Iran.

China, Iran’s top oil customer and a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has opposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran such as those imposed by Washington and the European Union, and has called repeatedly for talks to resolve the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear programme.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • The Cossacks were a feature in every European Jewish kid's worst nightmare. Tuvia Tenenbom went looking for the real-life variety in Ukraine — but you won't believe what he found. http://forward.com/articles/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.