China Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire Between Israel, Palestinians, Offers to Host Peace Talks

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi used the country's current role at the top of the United Nations Security Council to propose an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Palestine as well as an offer to host two-state solution talks.

Wang on Sunday looked to assert China's role in promoting lasting Middle East peace talks and said Beijing believes the root cause of the current deterioration is there has never been a just solution for the Palestinian people. The Chinese Communist Party envoy to the U.N. told the 15-member Security Council that Israel needs to stop expelling Palestinians from their homes and to respect Muslim religious sites in disputed parts of East Jerusalem. But Wang also chastised the Palestinian National Authority for escalating violence by firing rockets toward Tel Aviv this past week.

Wang used the opportunity to take a swipe at the United States for "obstructing" the council's efforts to take action on the conflict Sunday. Wang reiterated an immediate cease-fire and an end to Israel's blockade and ongoing siege of Gaza. Wang said Beijing supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that uses the 1967 East Jerusalem border as its capital and allows each side to coexist in the disputed areas.

"We will continue to increase our efforts to urge for peace and promote talks, and fulfill our responsibilities as chair of the Security Council," Wang told the permanent and non-permanent 15 members of the U.N. body Sunday via teleconference. "We reaffirm our invitation to peacemakers from Palestine and Israel to come to China to open up dialogue, and we welcome negotiators from both sides to engage in direct talks in China."

U.S. foreign policy analysts said China's response to the current Israel-Palestine violence is likely a genuine effort to host peace talks, particularly as Beijing looks to expand its Middle East influence as the new Washington administration settles into its foreign policy.

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the U.N., said Sunday that Beijing is "very much concerned about the alarming, worrisome situation in the occupied territory of Palestine.… The most urgent and pressing task is to cease fire and to stop the violence. What's equally important is to advance a settlement of the Palestinian question on the basis of a two-state solution."

Zhang reiterated that the U.N. Security Council "shoulders this heavy responsibility" for facilitating a peaceful, long-term solution in the region.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was among several U.N. envoy members who declined to condemn Israel's actions Monday. He instead urged the international community to "fulfill its responsibilities" to creating a lasting peace in the region.

Newsweek reached out to Chinese representatives to the U.N. Monday morning for additional remarks.

Chinese officials at Alaska meeting with Blinken
A Chinese delegation led by diplomat Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speak with their U.S. counterparts at the opening session of U.S.-China talks in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18. On May 16, Wang proposed an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Palestine and offered to host two-state solution talks. FREDERIC J. BROWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images