Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in China next week

Beijing announced Friday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will visit China next week, at a time when Chinese diplomacy is seeking to play a mediating role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

China said that in April it supported the resumption of talks as soon as possible, saying it was also ready to facilitate a peace agreement.

“At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will pay a state visit to China from June 13 to 16,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“China has always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights,” ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.

Beijing has traditionally supported a two-state solution, as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has stalled since 2014.

“President Abbas is an old friend, and a good friend of the Chinese people,” said Wang Wenbin.

He is the first Arab head of state received by China this year, which fully reflects the high level of Sino-Palestinian friendly relations.

Described as a rival by the United States, China has in recent years strengthened its trade and diplomatic relations with countries in the Middle East, many of which have traditionally been under American influence.

Thus China oversaw and facilitated the recent astonishing diplomatic rapprochement between two great regional powers, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

US officials try to downplay China’s role in the Middle East and judge that Beijing is still far from eclipsing the Americans in a region that remains largely under the protection of the US security umbrella.

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