President Xi calls Abbas: ‘China supports just demands of Palestine’

“Palestine is the core issue of the Middle East, an issue that touches on the stability of the region,” Xi said.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Chinese President Xi Jinping called Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to voice support for the creation of a Palestine state.

Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Xi as telling his counterpart, “China supports the just demands of Palestine. The country believes in dialogue and negotiations between the parties.”

“Palestine is the core issue of the Middle East, an issue that touches on the stability of the region,” Xi said, adding that “the two-state solution” was “the right direction,” and that the two sides should stick to dialogue and negotiations on an equal footing, the agency reported.

Xi added that China’s position on the Palestine question is consistent and clear. He said that the international community should take an objective and fair position and build up efforts for promoting peace, Xinhua reports.

Xi’s call likely signals that China is siding with the Palestinians against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to extend Israeli sovereignty over areas of Judea and Samaria as laid out in the Trump administration’s Mideast plan.

The plan allows for Jerusalem to apply Israeli law over 30 percent of the region and puts the onus on the Palestinians to prove their peaceful intentions over the next four years while negotiating over the remaining 70 percent.

The timing of the call raises questions as Chinese companies recently lost multimillion-dollar bids for infrastructure projects in Israel, partly due to the U.S. warning Israel against giving China too much influence.

The Trump administration is a severe critic of China’s growing global strength, and is in the midst of a trade dispute with Beijing. Tensions have only been exacerbated as the administration blames China for allowing the spread of the coronavirus, which has dealt a blow to the U.S. economy.

Following an urgent Israel visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May, China that month lost a bid to run the world’s biggest desalination plant in Palmachim. It then lost the recent tender to purchase an Israeli power plant. The Asian giant’s Huawei Corp. also looks to be out of the running to build Israel’s 5G internet network.

Seeing Israel choose the U.S. in the struggle between the superpowers, China may be seeking to gain leverage with Israel’s enemies.

Last week, China signed a $400 billion accord with Iran in both the civilian and military sectors.

Openly defying U.S. sanctions on Tehran, China committed to build dozens of infrastructure projects throughout Iran, including ports and train lines, and integrate the Islamic Republic into its 5G telecommunications network.

The two countries will also tighten their military ties, boosting intelligence cooperation, sharing weapons development and increasing joint naval exercises. In exchange, Iran will sell China oil at below-cost prices for the next 25 years.