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China pledged to support Islamic nations in their efforts to resolve conflicts, an announcement that many analysts described as Beijing’s attempt to foster closer ties with the Middle East as the influence of the United States decreases, the South China Morning Post reported.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad that China will “continue to support Islamic countries in using Islamic wisdom to solve contemporary hotspot issues.”
Among its pledges, China will help promote the settlement of the Palestinian issue based on a two-state solution and support Afghanistan – the latter is currently controlled by the Taliban – to build an inclusive government.
Wang also commented on the region of Kashmir, referring to the long-standing dispute between India and Pakistan over the Himalayan region, without elaborating further.
On Thursday, India criticized Yang’s remarks, saying that Kashmir’s matters “are entirely the internal affairs of India,” Al Jazeera noted.
The 57-member OIC is considered the second-largest global organization after the United Nations. Although Wang was a “special guest,” his attendance highlights China’s growing involvement with Islamic nations.
China’s comments also come as Western nations have become increasingly suspicious of Beijing’s “no-limits” ties with strategic partner Russia. At the same time, international concern has been growing over the past few years over human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang province against the Muslim Uyghurs.
Observers noted that China is trying to gain support on Xinjiang and strengthen its ties with the Islamic countries, including NATO member Turkey. They added that Islamic nations remain important to China in terms of trade, energy and diplomatic ties.
Meanwhile, relations between the US and the Middle East have become shakier following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and attempts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.