China’s top diplomat has welcomed four Arab foreign ministers and the Indonesian one to Beijing, saying his country would work with “our brothers and sisters" in the Arab and Islamic world to try to end the war in Gaza as soon as possible.
The ministers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Indonesia chose to start in Beijing a tour to permanent members of the United Nations Security Council on Monday, a testament to both China's growing geopolitical influence and its longstanding support for the Palestinians.
The tour aims to push for a ceasefire and propel the political process forward with the goal of lasting peace, as well as "hold the Israeli occupation accountable for the blatant violations and crimes in Gaza and occupied West Bank," according to a statement published by the Saudi Foreign Ministry on X, formerly known as Twitter.
'Good friend and brother'
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the foreign diplomats that their decision to start in Beijing shows their high level of trust in his nation.
"China is a good friend and brother of Arab and Islamic countries," Wang said in opening remarks at a state guest house before their talks began.
"We have always firmly safeguarded the legitimate rights and interests of Arab (and) Islamic countries and have always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people."
China has long backed the Palestinians and been quick to denounce Israel over its settlements in the occupied territories.
'Dangerous developments and urgent humanitarian crisis'
The Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, called for an immediate ceasefire and the entry of humanitarian aid and relief to the besieged Gaza.
"There are still dangerous developments ahead of us and an urgent humanitarian crisis that requires an international mobilisation to deal with and counter it," he said.
He added they appreciated the resolution issued by the United Nations Security Council, calling for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses in Gaza, "but we still need more efforts and cooperation."
The secretary general of the OIC, Hissein Brahim Taha, is also accompanying them on the trip.
Israel's relentless strikes on the besieged enclave have so far killed more than 11,500 people, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2,700 have been reported missing, believed buried in rubble.
"This isn’t Israel’s first war against the Palestinian people," said Riyad Al Maliki, the Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister.
"However, Israel wants this to be its last war, where it takes full control of the Palestinian people’s presence on what’s left of the historical land of Palestine."