Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhia Jun stressed that China is prepared to renew its recognition of a Palestinian state if the UN Security Council or the United Nations pass such a resolution. He pointed out that China was one of the first countries that recognized the PLO in the 1960s, noting that “the young generation may not know this information.” He made this statement in response to a question by Asharq Al-Awsat on the possibility of his country taking a stand similar to that recently taken by some Latin American countries which recognized a Palestinian state.
Jun added: “China regards the Muslim world countries as allies in international affairs. We view our relations with the 57-member states of the OIC through a long-term strategy. We believe that our common interests are broad and we can enhance cooperation to confront the new challenges.” He expressed Beijing’s readiness to expand and enhance economic and cultural cooperation with the Islamic countries. This statement followed a visit by the Chinese deputy Foreign Minster to the ICO headquarters, the first visit by a high-ranking Chinese government official to the OIC headquarters.
For his part, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that the Chinese official’s visit was within the framework of promoting relations, stressing that China backs the Islamic world causes, primarily the Palestinian issue. Ihsanoglu said: “The OIC states’ official stand is congruous with China’s at the United Nations and the Security Council in New York and at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.” He added: “During this visit, we discussed our common goals and future plans and agreed on the need to promote political consultations between us and China.”
According to the OIC, the Chinese official’s visit is aimed at stimulating relations between the Islamic world states and China. Both parties agreed to develop ties between China and the Islamic world, represented by the OIC, and to set up a communication mechanism for political consultations between the two sides and for learning about the situation of the Muslim population in China.
Both sides reviewed the political issues of special importance, primarily the Middle East issues of which the Palestinian issue is pivotal, as well as the situation in Afghanistan, Sudan, and the Ivory Coast.
The Chinese delegation and the OIC secretary general also discussed economic cooperation between the Islamic states in Central Asia and China, and certain economic projects in Africa. Both sides reviewed the steps that have been taken in preparation for holding an academic seminar on links between the Islamic and Chinese civilizations and their historical bonds. Both sides agreed to hold the seminar in Istanbul to be followed by other seminars on other aspects of Islamic-Chinese relations.
During the meeting, the OIC secretary general discussed the previous visit he paid to the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Ningzia and praised the development projects established there to promote the standard of living of their Muslim population.
The Chinese delegation’s visit to the OIC’s headquarters is in return to a visit by the OIC secretary general Ihsanoglu to China in June. The Chinese deputy foreign minister described Ihsanoglu’s visit to China as “historic,” as it was the first by professor Ihsanoglu to Chine even though 40 years had passed since the establishment of the OIC.