China calls for truce, condemns violence

2023-10-16 10:47:17China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, has called for every effort to be made to promote a cease-fire in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to prevent a more serious humanitarian disaster.

"China condemns all violence and attacks against civilians and opposes all practices that violate international law," Zhang said on Friday during Security Council consultations on "the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question".

"China reiterates its call to all parties to exercise maximum restraint and support all efforts to realize a cease-fire as soon as possible so as to prevent further escalation of tensions and spillover of the flames of war, which would have a greater impact on regional and international security."

Protecting civilians in armed conflict is "a red line" in international humanitarian law, Zhang said. "The indiscriminate use of force is unacceptable, and neither Palestinian nor Israeli civilians should be targeted. The safety of United Nations staff and humanitarian workers must be guaranteed."

Eleven UN staff members who worked at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Oct 7, the UN said.

Emergency evacuation

China is "gravely concerned about the consequences of Israel's imposition of a 'total blockade' on the Gaza Strip and its ordering of an emergency evacuation of the population of northern Gaza", Zhang said.

He called on Israel to "listen carefully to the appeals of the international community and the secretary-general of the United Nations to stop the collective punishment of the people of Gaza and to avoid artificially exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe".

China supports discussions on opening a humanitarian corridor in Gaza and the conclusion of feasible arrangements as soon as possible, he said, and appreciates efforts being made by Egypt and other countries concerned.

"China supports diplomatic mediation to ensure the personal safety and humanitarian needs of the detainees and their early release and safe return home."

Military means are "not the way out" to solve the conflict, and "responding to violence with violence will only lead to an endless vicious cycle", he said.

The UN has a responsibility to play its due role, Zhang said, and the Security Council must demonstrate its commitment by forging a consensus as soon as possible to promote a cease-fire and prevent a humanitarian disaster, and by having a strong voice and taking practical initiatives.


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