After pressure from the majority leader of the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer, Beijing continued to condemn the attacks launched by Hamas in Israel but did so without naming the organization considered a terrorist in the North American country.
In a statement from its Foreign Ministry, China said it condemned “all violence and attacks against civilians” and said, “the most urgent task now is to reach a cease-shoot and restore peace.”
The statement issued Monday came after Schumer, a Democrat, expressed frustration with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s earlier statement in Beijing, calling for restraint.
“I raised with President Xi the atrocities committed against Israel and the need for the world community to unite against terrorism and the people of Israel and requested President Xi that the Chinese Foreign Minister strengthen his statement; that’s what they did,” Schumer said.
However, in a press conference, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry did not name Hamas and refused to describe the attacks launched by its militants as an act of terrorism.
Only the Chinese embassy in Israel named Hamas and called the militants “terrorists” when it was reported that a young Israeli woman of Chinese descent was among the hostages taken by Hamas fighters, according to on The Associated Press.
“Noa was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists while attending a peaceful music festival in southern Israel. He was transferred from Israel to Gaza,” an embassy statement said. “She was a daughter, a sister, and a friend.”
Analysts believe that China avoids directly condemning Hamas to maintain its influence in developing countries.
Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Voice of America that “China has always relied on the Arab world and even non-state actors backed by rogue states.”
Benjamin Friedman, director of policy at Defense Priorities, told the VOA that China is trying to “adopt a more neutral position than the United States and be seen in the world as a more neutral or honest mediator, and not necessarily align with Israel like the United States. And I think this is consistent with the desire for victory that has influenced much of the developing world.
China has increased its relations with Israel since 2013, especially in the field of science and technology, including military technology.
Meanwhile, Beijing has stepped up to mediate peace in the Middle East, challenging US influence in the region.
Analysts say Beijing’s ambiguous attitude to recent attacks is calculated to maintain ties with regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and contradict any US efforts to settle the conflict.
Saudi Arabia and Iran resumed diplomatic ties in March in a Chinese-brokered deal seen as increasing Beijing’s geopolitical power in the region.
Adam Gallagher, editor-in-chief of public affairs and communications at the US Institute of Peace, wrote in March that for China, “brokering a rapprochement between these two former rivals in the Middle East has strategic and symbolic significance. dimensions.”
“Strategically, Beijing needs to maintain the free flow of oil from the region. But what the deal shows about Beijing’s role in global affairs may be just as critical, if not more so, for China…
Meanwhile, the United States is trying to make a peace agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. This is seen as a diplomatic setback for Iran, which has long been recognized as a major supporter of Hamas.
Carice Witte, founder and executive director of the Israel-based think tank Sino-Israel Global Network and Academic Leadership, said to VOA that while China does not want to see attacks against Israel like those over the weekend, “it wants to see Saudi Arabia stay on China’s side.”
Israel described the weekend attacks by Hamas as a “9/11” incident, referring to the impact of the attacks on the lives, property, and morale of Israelis.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, China unequivocally condemned terrorism and took steps to support the US government, a move that helped Beijing improve relations with Washington after years of tension between the two powers.
However, experts do not see China willing or able to take advantage of the current crisis to improve Sino-Israeli relations.
“I don’t think they are taking advantage of the opportunity to improve their partnership. It seems they are more interested in being considered neutral,” said Friedman.