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China Calls on Hamas to Renounce Violence, Recognize Israel


China is calling on the Palestinian government led by Hamas to renounce violence and recognize the state of Israel's right to exist.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made the appeal Tuesday during a regular briefing on the eve of a visit by the Palestinian foreign minister.

"We call on the Palestinian Hamas to truly renounce violence, recognize Israel, and accept the Palestinian-Israeli agreements already reached," said Liu.

Analysts say China made the call in hopes of avoiding criticism for hosting a government minister of Hamas, which is shunned by some governments that accuse it of engaging in terrorism.

The United States and European Union cut off direct aid and contacts with the Palestinian authority after Hamas won control of the government in the Palestinian elections in January.

The United States, as well as the European Union, Australia, Canada, and Israel list Hamas as a terrorist organization for carrying out suicide bombings and other attacks on civilian targets.

Beijing has criticized the boycott against Hamas. Chinese officials say they plan to reaffirm that stance to Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar when he meets with Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing this week. China has previously said it would consider a Palestinian request for further aid.

Zahar is to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of Arab nations hosted by China through Thursday. His stop in Beijing is part of a tour of Asia that also includes Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

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