“In terms of the content, the draft is seriously out of balance and confuses right and wrong.”
On Friday, 193 UN General Assembly members will vote on a draft resolution by Arab states that calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and the rescission of the Israeli evacuation order. The resolution will not be legally binding like Security Council resolutions, but would have symbolic weight.
On Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said China’s stance on the Palestinian issue stemmed from “fact and justice” rather than self-interest.
“As long as it is conducive to peace, China firmly supports it, and as long as it contributes to Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation, China will do its utmost,” she said, adding that the Security Council’s decision should respect history and facts and listen to the voices of the Arab states.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to “ease epic suffering”, saying the attacks by Hamas did not justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
Ten members of the Security Council voted for the US draft resolution while China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates voted against it, with two abstentions.
Zhang said China’s opposition to the proposal was based on its failure to call for an immediate ceasefire in clear and unambiguous terms, its failure to advocate for an end to the “indiscriminate and asymmetrical” use of force and its failure to mention the “root causes” of the current crisis in Gaza.
Zhang added that China was not denying Israel’s security concerns and legitimate rights, but the proposal neglected the historical injustice that Palestinians have suffered.
“What we oppose is that the draft resolution … [ignores] the fact that the Palestinian territory has been occupied for a long time and [evades] the fundamental issue of independent statehood for the Palestinian people,” he said.
Beijing has been a vocal supporter of a “two-state resolution” to settle the Israel-Palestine conflict. It has denounced Israel’s actions for going beyond the scope of self-defence.
“Every country has the right to self-defence, but should abide by international law and protect the safety of civilians,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen in a phone call on Monday.
China will provide an additional 15 million yuan (US$2 million) in emergency humanitarian aid to Gaza to address urgent needs such as food and medical care, on top of its previous $1 million in cash assistance, according to a statement by the China International Development Cooperation Agency on Thursday.
At the same Security Council meeting, Russia also put forward a competing draft resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire and rescission of the Israeli evacuation order for Gaza. It only won four votes, including one from China, while the US and UK voted against it.
For a resolution to be adopted, it needs at least nine votes, with no vetoes by the five permanent Security Council members – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China.