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China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, has called for urgent action to stem the conflict in Gaza during a meeting with officials from Arab and Muslim majority nations. The meeting, which began with a two-day visit to Beijing, aims to establish a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. China has been at odds with Washington, an Israeli ally and a major power broker in the region, over their approach to the conflict, including an immediate ceasefire. Wang has criticized Israel’s retaliation and failed to condemn Hamas or name the group in its statements, sparking backlash from Israeli officials.
China has been attempting to play an active role in finding a solution to the conflict as it seeks to expand its position as a major global power. Last month, China dispatched a peace envoy for a multi-country tour of the region and has acted as a strong voice pushing for an immediate ceasefire at the United Nations, including the Security Council, where China now holds the rotating presidency.
China’s special envoy is on a Middle East mission, and last week the UN body passed its first resolution on the conflict, calling for the immediate release of all hostages. Countries represented in the delegation hoped to cooperate with China and “all countries” that are responsible and appreciate the seriousness of the situation.