Wednesday, December 13, 2017

China renews interest in playing larger role in Middle East

Unclear whether Beijing's moves in the region show a desire to play bigger role

LIM YAN LIANG, CHINA CORRESPONDENT, IN BEIJING

THE NEW PAPER - Dec 13, 2017

China has expressed renewed interest in playing a larger role in the Middle East peace process, a move that some see as invaluable given how the latest US action has unnerved the region.  At a forum in Beijing last Saturday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China's willingness to bring Israeli and Palestinian representatives together for a dialogue by year end.  The offer came just a month after its special envoy on Middle East affairs, Mr Gong Xiaosheng, concluded a visit to Israel and Palestine, and said both parties welcomed China's involvement in the peace talks and were ready to work with China to find a solution.  China had proposed a trilateral dialogue with Palestine and Israel in July, following separate visits by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Beijing.

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