China’s high chief, Xi Jinping, met with Senator Chuck Schumer, the bulk chief, in Beijing on Monday and expressed hopes of “peaceful coexistence” between China and the United States, at the same time as escalating violence within the Middle East threatens to deepen a wedge between the 2 powers.
“We have 1,000 reasons to make China-U.S. relations work well and not a single reason to make China-U.S. relations bad,” Mr. Xi mentioned whereas assembly with the Democratic senator from New York.
Mr. Xi’s amicable tone is more likely to improve expectations that he’ll attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering in San Francisco in November and meet with President Biden. Doing so would cap a tumultuous yr for U.S.-China relations that reached a low in February after the invention of a Chinese surveillance balloon over the United States.
Still, the specter of a rising battle between Israelis and Palestinians might complicate any bid to enhance ties between Beijing and Washington.
Mr. Schumer, who’s in China main a bipartisan congressional delegation, advised Mr. Xi that he was “disappointed” by China’s lack of sympathy for Israel in its official response to the assault by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, on Israel.
“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn the cowardly and vicious attacks,” Mr. Schumer advised Mr. Xi.
Mr. Schumer mentioned throughout a news convention after the assembly with Mr. Xi that he had requested that “China use its influence in Iran to not allow the conflagration to spread.”
“They have influence with Iran in many different ways, and we asked them to do everything they could to not have Iran spread this conflagration through themselves and through Hezbollah,” he mentioned, referring to the Lebanese militant group backed by Tehran.
Asked how the Chinese facet responded, Mr. Schumer mentioned, “They said they would deliver the message.”
China has shunned condemning Hamas for the assaults, opting as a substitute to proceed casting itself as a impartial celebration within the long-running battle.
“China is a common friend of both Israel and Palestine,” Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, mentioned at a daily news briefing on Monday.
An editorial printed on Monday within the Global Times, which is affiliated with a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, blamed Western international locations for the Israeli-Palestinian battle in an effort it mentioned was led by the United States. It additionally warned that taking sides on the difficulty now would solely add “fuel to the fire.”
China will most definitely face rising strain to assist Israel — not in contrast to the calls that Beijing is dealing with to push Russia to finish its preventing in Ukraine.
Yuval Waks, a senior official on the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, mentioned on Sunday that he anticipated “stronger condemnation” of Hamas from China.
Tuvia Gering, an professional on Chinese international coverage on the Diane and Guilford Glazer Center on the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel, mentioned on X, the social media platform previously generally known as Twitter, that “China’s moral compass” was “broken.”
“As the Jewish Talmud says, silence is acquiescence,” Mr. Gering wrote on Monday.
While China and Israel keep strong commerce and funding ties, notably because it pertains to expertise and infrastructure, their relationship is in the end restrained by Israel’s deep alignment with the United States and China’s friendship with Iran.
China has a strategic curiosity in making an attempt to be pals with all governments within the area; it garners a lot of its oil imports from the Middle East and considers it a key node alongside its Belt and Road commerce community.
As the United States has drawn down its presence within the area, Mr. Xi has even tried to reinforce his clout within the Middle East by serving to restore diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two archrivals, in March. The subsequent month, China provided to mediate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Though these talks by no means gained momentum, specialists say China might nonetheless contribute in a constructive method by providing to mediate the discharge of civilian hostages held by Hamas. One of these hostages is believed to be a girl of Chinese descent who was kidnapped Saturday by militants at a music pageant, the embassy mentioned on the Chinese platform Weibo on Sunday.
“China has an opportunity to showcase its leadership and mediation prowess in a more substantial way,” mentioned Gedaliah Afterman, the top of the Asia Policy Program on the Abba Eban Institute for Diplomacy and Foreign Relations at Reichman University in Israel.
“Successfully doing so,” he added, “would not only mitigate regional tensions but also solidify China’s reputation as a key player in fostering de-escalation and sustaining regional stability.”
Reporting was contributed by Olivia Wang, Zixu Wang, Keith Bradsher and Alexandra Stevenson.