Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to make a “state visit” to China this week.
“President of the state of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas will pay a state visit to China from June 13 to 16,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Friday.
According to another ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, Abbas will be the “first Arab head of state received by China this year, embodying the high level of China-Palestine good relations, which have traditionally been friendly.”
The invitation comes as Beijing attempts to position itself as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—in December of last year, Xi met with Abbas in Saudi Arabia, saying that Beijing would continue to work on an “early, just and durable solution to the Palestinian issue.”
In March, China also brokered a restoration of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Beijing recognized the “State of Palestine” in 1988 and established full diplomatic relations at the end of 1989. Diplomatic relations with Israel were established in 1992.
Israel and China maintain strong economic and business ties, participating in March in the first direct talks on a free-trade agreement since November 2019, and the eighth round since 2016. China is Israel’s second-largest trading partner after the United States.
A survey conducted in May for Arab News by YouGov showed that 80% of Palestinian respondents with a clear opinion on the topic expressed support for a Chinese role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.