PA Chairman Abbas Travels to China for State Visit
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmud Abbas arrived in Beijing on Sunday for a state visit, official media reported, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also set to meet Chinese leaders later this week.
Abbas will stay in China through Tuesday, the state news agency Xinhua reported, while Netanyahu is due to arrive in the financial hub of Shanghai on Monday for two days and then visit Beijing until Friday, the AFP news agency reported.
Abbas told Xinhua he plans to update Chinese leaders about obstacles to peace talks and ask them to "use its relationship with Israel to remove the obstacles that obstruct the Palestinian economy".
"It is a good opportunity that the Chinese listen to both of us," Prime Minister Netanyahu said of the overlapping visit.
Netanyahu is expected to seek greater Chinese backing for tougher sanctions against Iran in an attempt to slow its nuclear program.
China belongs to the P5+1 group of nations -- the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany -- that has been pressing Iran over its nuclear program. It is also one of the biggest customers for Iran's oil.
While Beijing has traditionally remained distant from Middle Eastern affairs, in recent years it has begun to take a more active diplomatic role.