China responds to Israel-Hamas conflict with a call to ‘end the hostilities’

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Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Gaza, October 8, 2023. 

Mohammed Salem | Reuters

BEIJING — China called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict — and for “establishing an independent State of Palestine,” according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement Sunday.

“The fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent State of Palestine,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.

Its online statement described the situation as an “escalation of tensions and violence between Palestine and Israel.”

It did not mention the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and has been designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union.

According to NBC News, at least 700 people in Israel have been killed since Hamas militants infiltrated Israel on Saturday and abducted dozens, including civilians. Israel responded with counteroffensive strikes on Gaza, with the latest death toll at 370, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

“We call on relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities to protect civilians and avoid further deterioration of the situation,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.

“The international community needs to act with greater urgency, step up input into the Palestine question, facilitate the early resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel, and find a way to bring about enduring peace,” the statement added. “China will continue to work relentlessly with the international community towards that end.”

On Monday, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, took a more pointed stance on the developing conflict by saying “China condemns all violence and attacks against civilians.”

That’s according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese-language comments on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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