China’s foreign minister Wang Yi called for a larger, more authoritative Israeli-Palestinian peace conference and a timetable to implement a two-state solution as the Gaza conflict escalated and the Red Sea became a new flash point.

Speaking to reporters after talks with Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo over the weekend, Wang said the international community should “listen” carefully to the legitimate concerns in the Middle East.

His remarks were reported by the state news agency Xinhua on Monday.

“China calls for the convening of a larger-scale, more authoritative and more effective international peace conference, the formulation of a specific timetable and road map for the implementation of the ‘two-state solution’, and support for the prompt resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks,” Wang said.

Last week the US and Britain launched strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen after the group attacked ships in the Red Sea. The Houthis said their attacks are a show of support for Palestinians and Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza.

The Red Sea attacks have forced commercial ships to take a longer, costlier route around Africa, stoking concern about inflation and supply chain disruptions. They are also bringing the Gaza crisis much closer to China’s investments in the Suez Canal east of Cairo.

China avoids being a direct party in any military conflicts, but said it is keen to raise its “international influence, appeal and power” to shape events through diplomacy.

Last week Wang said President Xi Jinping had “in-depth communication” with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Iran to persuade the Middle East powers to let go of past grievances.

Wang is travelling through Egypt, Tunisia, Togo and the Ivory Coast until Thursday.

China’s top diplomat has also held talks with the secretary-general of the Arab League on the Gaza conflict and expressed concerns over the Red Sea, Xinhua reported.

The two diplomats said in a joint statement reported by Xinhua: “Influential countries, in particular, need to play an objective, impartial and constructive role in this regard.”


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