Chinese Foreign Minister Criticised Israel For Defending Its Sovereignty

China’s foreign minister said Saturday that Israel has gone too far in responding to last week’s invasion by Hamas, China’s official news agency reported.

Speaking to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Israel’s actions have extended beyond self-defense.

According to Xinhua, China has an interest in helping resolve the conflict and the underlying issues involving the Palestinian population.

The report contained no direct quotes, but Xinhua said about Wang’s remarks during the phone conversation: “China is in intensive communication with all parties to push for a ceasefire and an end to the fighting, he said, adding that the pressing task is to ensure the safety of civilians, open humanitarian corridors for aid as soon as possible, and protect the basic needs of the people in Gaza.”

Before the Hamas incursion and subsequent Israeli military response, it was believed that Israel and Saudi Arabia, driven by a common animus toward Iran, were working toward a normalization of relations, a development that could have shifted the dynamic in the Middle East.

For its part, China has not traditionally played a large role in the Middle East, though the report on the China-Saudi conversation is one more indication that it would like to increase its influence. Xinhua also reported on a conversation Saturday between Wang and Secretary of State Antony Blinken that included discussion about the fighting.

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