China backs calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

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BEIJING (AFP) – China backed calls Tuesday for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza conflict and urged the UN Security Council and the international community to bring peace to the region.

A statement by China’s foreign ministry came as senior Israeli ministers decided overnight to hold off from launching a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip to give Egyptian-led truce efforts a chance to work.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged all sides to the Gaza conflict to immediately cease their fire, warning at a press conference in Cairo that an escalation would put the entire region at risk.

“We hope any action of the international community, of the Security Council, will promote the ceasefire in Gaza and uphold peace and stability of this region,” China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

“China appreciates and supports Egypt and other regional countries, as well as the Arab league’s positive efforts on this issue.”

She also reiterated a call made Monday for “maximum restraint” by all parties, especially Israel, in the conflict as the death toll from air strikes on the territory rose over 100.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has voiced support for the Palestinian push for statehood and urged the international community to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but not played an active role itself.

As with the neighbouring conflict in Syria, China generally opposes intervention in the internal affairs of other nations.

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