(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will pay a state visit to China from July 17 to 20 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, announced Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday.
"During the visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang will meet with and hold talks with President Abbas
respectively. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations, Palestinian issues, and other issues of common concern," said Geng.
China and the Palestinians enjoy a long-term friendship and China is among the first countries that recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization and the state of Palestine, the spokesman said, adding that they have maintained close high-level exchanges over the years, with their cooperation in various fields making steady progress and people-to-people exchanges becoming increasingly closer.
"China will work with Palestine to further develop their traditional friendship and promote the development of their all-round friendly cooperation. China supports the just course of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights and will play a constructive role in promoting the Palestinian-Israeli peace process," said Geng.
Official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported in May that China is willing to play an active role
in pushing forward the frozen peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
The report cited remarks made by Chinese special envoy to the Middle East, Gong Xiaosheng, during a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
China is one of Israel’s top trading partners, but the two governments are often at odds on regional issues. Beijing has strong ties with Tehran and recognizes Palestine as a state.
In mid-March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited China
for three days to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.