Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a press conference following their meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, July 18, in which the two leaders stated that China would continue supporting the Palestinian people and announced the signing of several cooperation agreements.
According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping stated that China would continue to support the “Palestinian cause and struggle to regain their national rights regardless of the international developments,” and would continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian people.
Abbas thanked Xi for his continued support of Palestine, and reportedly said that “China remains the best friend of our people and the best supporter of our national cause.” In addition, Abbas decorated Xi with the Grand Medal of Palestine in a display of appreciation and respect for the Chinese leader. Abbas and Xi also reportedly signed four agreements to improve economic, technical, culture, and capacity building cooperation between the countries.
Abbas stressed on Wednesday the importance of the peace initiative of Xi Jinping, which calls for achieving a two-state solution of Palestine and Israel, boosting mutual security cooperation, and peace through development. Addressing the Chinese Academy of Governance in Beijing, Abbas said he was ready to cooperate with China on setting up the appropriate mechanisms to achieve the initiative. He also declared his support for holding Chinese-Palestinian-Israeli political conferences in China to examine ways to advance peace in the Middle East region.
“Our hands are extended to peace in spite of the suffering we are facing from the occupation, settlements, repression and violence,” said Abbas, adding: “We look forward to getting back to negotiations. We look forward to the role of your country [China], the international Quartet, the Arab states, the Security Council and the effective countries in making peace a reality in the land of peace.” On the current Gulf crisis that involves Qatar and its neighboring countries and Egypt, Abbas expressed hope that Kuwait will succeed in finding a solution to the crisis but adding, however, that the Palestinian issue remains a priority to the international community in spite of these developments.
Abbas landed in China on Monday, in a trip aimed at reaffirming the longstanding relationship between China and Palestine, the giant Asian power having a long history of backing the Palestinians. Former chairman Mao Zedong supplied then PLO leader Yasser Arafat with weapons and financial support in the 1960s. More recently, China has stood behind Palestinian initiatives in international forums, voting in favor of making Palestine a UN non-member observer in 2012, and China was one of the first countries to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which opened up an embassy in Beijing in 1974, as well as the Palestinian state which that organization declared unilaterally in 1988.