News / Asia

China Urges Restraint in Syria After Israeli Strikes

Israeli soldiers walk near tanks close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, May 6, 2013.
Israeli soldiers walk near tanks close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, May 6, 2013.
Reuters
China issued veiled criticism of Israel on Monday as its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, began a visit, saying China opposed the use of force and urged restraint and the respect of sovereignty after Israel launched strikes in Syria.

Israeli jets devastated Syrian targets near Damascus on Sunday in a heavy overnight air raid that Western and Israeli officials called a new strike on Iranian missiles bound for Lebanon's Hezbollah.

"We oppose the use of military force and believe any country's sovereignty should be respected," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.

"China also calls on all relevant parties to begin from the basis of protecting regional peace and stability, maintain restraint and avoid taking any actions that would escalate tensions and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability," Hua said.

Hua, who did not mention Israel by name, was speaking as Netanyahu began a five-day trip to China.

His trip coincides with a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as China tries to shore up its role in a region where its diplomatic influence is limited.

China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has traditionally had a low profile in Middle Eastern diplomacy, but it is keen to assert a role as an important participant in international politics.

Hua, asked if China would urge Netanyahu to stop air strikes, said the Israeli leader had yet to meet Chinese leaders. Netanyahu is due to meet Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

Netanyahu did not mention the air strikes during a speech to the Israeli business community in Shanghai, and later declined to answer a reporter's question about the strikes.

Rights and interests

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Abbas to hold peace talks with Israel, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement, but stressed that Palestinian rights were key to stability.

"So long as the legitimate national rights and interests of the Palestinian people are not restored, peace between Palestine and Israel cannot be realized, let alone regional peace and stability," Xi said.

Xi made the remarks in a meeting with Abbas, who, a month earlier, had discussed with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
China has tried at various times over the years to mediate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but with little apparent success.

Beijing has maintained close relations with the Palestinians for decades. In recent years, it has also cultivated good ties with Israel, especially in the field of defense.
Xi said his "four-point proposal on the settlement of the question of Palestine" should include a recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

"At the same time, the existence of Israel and its legitimate security concerns should be fully respected," Xi told Abbas.

It was unclear whether Netanyahu and Abbas would meet in China. "[China] is willing to offer necessary assistance if the leaders of Palestine and Israel have the will to meet in China," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid