Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas arrives in China

According to official media, Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, and China expressed its willingness to assist in facilitating Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Abbas’ fifth official visit to the second-largest economy in the world will last until Friday, according to Beijing.

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President Xi Jinping will reportedly meet with Abbas during the trip, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

According to Wafa, the two are anticipated to “exchange opinions on the most recent developments in the Palestinian arena as well as on regional and global issues of mutual concern.”

Abbas will also meet with Premier Li Qiang, the news agency added.

The longtime Palestinian leader is an “old and good friend of the Chinese people”, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last week.

“China has always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights,” he added.

Beijing has sought to boost its ties to the Middle East, challenging long-standing US influence there — efforts that have sparked unease in Washington.

During his trip to Saudi Arabia in December of last year, President Xi met with Abbas and made a commitment to “work for an early, just, and durable solution to the Palestinian issue.”

Additionally, Secretary of State Antony Blinken struck a conciliatory tone after tensions with the longtime ally during a visit to Riyadh last week, saying Saudi Arabia was not being forced to choose between Washington and Beijing.

In an interview with Chinese state news agency Xinhua published this week, Palestinian official Abbas Zaki said China and the Palestinians were “friends closer than brothers”.

“I am very pleased to see that China has been more involved in Middle East affairs after the China-Arab States Summit last year,” he added.

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