Published: 14:34, June 7, 2024
Xi stresses ‘justice’ for Palestinians
By Mo Jingxi

In speech at Sino-Arab forum, president urges global push for two-state solution amid Gaza crisis

President Xi Jinping and other attendees of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum pose for a group photo in Beijing on May 30, 2024. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping appealed to the global community on May 30 to unwaveringly commit itself to the two-state solution to resolve the Palestine-Israel conflict, while pledging Beijing’s support for a more broad-based, authoritative and effective international peace conference.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing, Xi decried the “tremendous sufferings” caused by the ongoing conflict, saying that China firmly supports the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“War should not continue indefinitely. Justice should not be absent forever. Commitment to the two-state solution should not be wavered at will,” he told a roomful of guests including the heads of state of Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as foreign ministers from other Arab League nations.

Xi also announced that China will host the second China-Arab States Summit in 2026, which he said will be another milestone in Sino-Arab relations. The first such summit was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2022.

“We will, together with the Arab side, respect the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, the independent choice of every nation and the reality formed in history, and strive together for solutions to hot spot issues that uphold fairness and justice and sustain peace and security,” he said.

To help ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and support post-conflict reconstruction, Xi announced that China will provide another 500 million yuan ($69 million) of humanitarian assistance, on top of the previous 100 million yuan. In addition, China will donate $3 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in support of its emergency humanitarian assistance to Gaza, he said.

China and Arab countries have witnessed leapfrog development in practical cooperation with win-win results over the past two decades since the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum was established in 2004 as a formal dialogue mechanism between China and Arab states.

Over many years, China has been the biggest trading partner of Arab states, with bilateral trade increasing nearly tenfold from $36.7 billion in 2004 to a staggering $398 billion in 2023. China has signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with all 22 Arab states and the Arab League, and more than 200 large-scale projects have been implemented under the Belt and Road Initiative.

To step up the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future, Xi proposed five frameworks for boosting win-win cooperation with Arab nations in terms of innovation, investment and finance, energy, trade and economy, and people-to-people exchanges.

He said that China will enhance cooperation with the Arab side on artificial intelligence (AI) to make it empower the real economy and to promote a broad-based global governance system on AI.

China supports closer cooperation between financial institutions from the two sides and welcomes Arab banks to join the Cross-border Interbank Payment System, Xi said.

To foster a more multifaceted framework for energy cooperation, China will further enhance strategic cooperation with the Arab side on oil and gas, and integrate supply security with market security, the president said.

“We will support Chinese energy companies and financial institutions in participating in renewable energy projects in Arab states with total installed capacity of over 3 million kilowatts,” he said.

Xi said that China stands ready to accelerate negotiations on bilateral and regional free trade agreements with Arab countries and advance the dialogue mechanism for e-commerce cooperation.

He also announced that China plans to work with the Arab side to achieve the goal of 10 million two-way visits of tourists in the next five years.

Lebanese Ambassador to China Milia Jabbour, who attended the opening ceremony, said China-Arab cooperation “is developing and reaching new horizons of interest to both sides and has important implications for the development of the Arab countries and China, which is mutually beneficial”.

Jabbour added that China’s position on the Palestinian question is historical, consistent and principled, and conforms with international law.