Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict "as soon as possible". During his talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Beijing, he emphasised the need for a peaceful Middle East in the interest of the international community.
"The conflict between Israel and Palestine has had a long lasting impact on the Middle East," said Xi in his talks, aimed at boosting trade cooperation with the visiting Israeli leader. "China appreciates that the Israeli side will continue to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian issue on the basis of the 'two-state solution'."
So far, China has not played any role in Middle East politics and diplomacy despite its heavy reliance on oil-producing countries in the region. In 2016, nearly one-third of Israel's foreign investment came from China. Traditionally, Beijing also maintains cordial relations with Israel's conventional Middle East adversaries — Palestine, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
On his part, Netanyahu, whose office has clarified that the trade investment cooperation remains on top of the country's agenda, has made it clear that Israel is happy to be Beijing's "junior partner" in development.
"We have always believed, as we discussed on my previous visit, that Israel can be a partner, a junior partner, but a perfect partner for China in the development of a variety of technologies that change the way we live, how long we live, how healthy we live, the water we drink, the food we eat, the milk that we drink – in every area," Netanyahu was quoted as saying.
The Israeli premier is being hosted by the Chinese leader right after Saudi Arabia's King Salman visited the country. Netanyahu is accompanied by more than 100 business and political leaders on his four-day China tour.