Dear Focus Reader,
It's been a month and half since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out, and just a week since U.S. President Joe Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of APEC, where he called on Xi to use his influence with Iran to ease the hostilities in Gaza.
While little direct collaboration has occurred between Beijing and Washington on the matter, aside from a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi agreeing to work together to prevent the conflict from spreading, Xi recently made his first public comments on the war in a speech to a virtual summit of BRICS nations.
He called for an "international peace conference" aimed at resolving the conflict, and said that a two-state solution is the only way to achieve peace in Israel and Gaza. He also laid out a three-pronged strategy for dealing with the conflict, urging the release of hostages and an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, stating that humanitarian assistance should be provided to Gaza, and calling on the international community to act with practical measures to prevent the spread of conflict and endangering stability in the Middle East as a whole.
Following Xi's speech this week, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Gaza to allow for the release of 50 hostages held by the militant group in exchange for 150 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, which is expected to begin Thursday morning. It was also agreed upon to allow for more aid to enter the enclave.
China also hosted senior officials from predominantly Middle Eastern nations on Monday for talks on deescalating the Israel-Hamas conflict. While China's ongoing role in the conflict remains to be seen, the war follows Beijing's successful brokerage between Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations earlier this year, and some analysts wonder if this will translate into Beijing seeking to become a similar mediator in the ongoing conflict.
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Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China and the U.S. every week. It is a community space to exchange thoughts and ideas about the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.