China announced on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, that it has established a “strategic partnership” with the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who landed in Beijing on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, is on a four-day visit in the country and he had a meeting on Wednesday with Xi Jinping, the Chinese President.
Abbas was welcomed with full military honors at the Great Hall of the People in China’s capital.
The announcement was a sign of yet another step in China’s campaign to gain political and economic influence in the Middle East, where it is competing with the United States.
At the start of their meeting, Xi told Abbas, “We are good friends and partners,” saying, “We have always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights.”
“China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the Palestinian side to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue as soon as possible.”Xi Jinping
Xi called the strategic partnership an “important milestone in the history of bilateral relations,” but its financial details were not immediately disclosed.
As part of a combined challenge with Russia to the Western-led democratic world order, China is looking for energy resources and markets for its military and civilian exports while simultaneously promoting its form of authoritarian leadership.
With the appointment of a special envoy to engage with Israeli and Palestinian officials, Beijing has long maintained diplomatic contacts with the Palestinian Authority.
However, its experience in the area is primarily restricted to construction, manufacturing, and other business ventures.
Palestine Seeks To Bolster Cooperation With China
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asserted that his administration was “looking forward to strengthening cooperation with China within the framework of its initiative” and securing investments.
“We especially appreciate the Chinese side’s commitment to financing a number of development projects presented by Palestine. We wish the speedy dispatch of technical delegations to implement these projects.”President Mahmoud Abbas
Such alliances are crucial to China’s diplomatic strategy and offer big Chinese businesses an advantage when negotiating infrastructure contracts that fall under the government’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” which has put several impoverished nations in crippling debt to Chinese banks.
In order to increase its diplomatic influence and obtain access to advanced technologies, China has likewise pushed to establish close connections with Israel.
Abbas’ visit comes after China hosted negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which led to the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two foes in the Middle East and improved China’s reputation in the area.
As Gulf Arab states believe that the United States is gradually leaving the larger region, the reconciliation between Riyadh and Teheran is seen as a diplomatic gain for China.