BEIJING - China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it understood and supported Palestinian aspirations to seek full UN membership, but stopped short of saying how it would vote on the matter.

China "believes that establishing a state is a legal right the Palestinian people cannot be denied and is the basis and precondition for peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel", ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

"As for the matter of the Palestinians independently establishing a state and applying to the United Nations, we express understanding, respect and support," he told a regular news briefing.

"At the same time, we believe that the international community should also step up efforts to ensure an early return to talks between the Palestinians and Israel."

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