POLITICS

Chinese foreign minister criticizes US role in Gaza talks during visit to Indonesia

Apr 17, 2024, 10:09 PM | Updated: Apr 18, 2024, 3:36 am

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attacked the United States for earlier blocking United Nations resolutions calling for a cease-fire in Gaza after a meeting with his counterpart in Indonesia.

The Chinese and Indonesian foreign ministers reiterated their countries’ calls for an immediate and lasting cease-fire in Gaza after a meeting in Jakarta on Thursday, condemning the humanitarian costs of Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas.

The U.S., together with Egypt and Qatar, brokered a brief cease-fire earlier in the war that included some swaps of hostages taken by Hamas and other militant groups in return for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, and has sought to bring about a new deal.

But the U.S. vetoed a number of proposed U.N. Security Council cease-fire resolutions because they didn’t tie the calls directly to the release of Israel hostages or condemn Hamas’ attack that prompted the war before allowing a resolution to a pass with an abstention in late March.

The meeting took place on the second day of a six-day tour during which Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also visit Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.

Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi told reporters that the two countries share the same view about the importance of a cease-fire and of resolving the Palestinian problem through a two-state solution.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has long been a strong supporter of the Palestinians and does not recognize Israel.

“I am sure that China would use its influence to prevent escalation,” Marsudi said, adding that China and Indonesia “would also fully support Palestine’s membership in the U.N.”

Wang blamed the United States for holding up cease-fire resolutions at the U.N.

“The conflict in Gaza has lasted for half a year and caused a rare humanitarian tragedy in the 21st century. The United Nations Security Council responded to the call of the international community and continued to review the resolution draft on the cease-fire in Gaza, but it was repeatedly vetoed by the United States,” Wang told reporters.

American officials have argued that the cease-fire and hostage releases are linked, while Russia, China and many other council members favored unconditional calls for a cease-fire. China and Russia also vetoed one U.S.-backed cease-fire resolution, saying it was not strong enough.

Referring to the resolution that was approved by the Security Council in March, Wang said: “This time, the U.S. did not dare to stand in opposition to international morality and chose to abstain. However, the U.S. claimed that this resolution was not binding,” Wang said. “In the eyes of the United States, international law seems to be a tool that can be used whenever it finds useful and discarded if it does not want to use it.”

The two ministers also discussed their countries’ economic relationship and the South China Sea.

China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner, with the trade volume reaching more than $127 billion. China is also one of Indonesia’s largest foreign investors, with investment flows of more than $7.4 billion in 2023.

Later Thursday, Wang also met Indonesian President Joko Widodo and president-elect Prabowo Subianto, who is currently defense minister.

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Chinese foreign minister criticizes US role in Gaza talks during visit to Indonesia