China exercised its veto power in the UN Security Council to block a draft resolution related to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, stating that the proposed resolution did not align with the principles of previous UN resolutions and contained dangerous elements. China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, explained the decision during the vote, emphasising China’s commitment to facts, law, conscience, justice, and the global community’s appeals, particularly those of Arab countries.
The draft resolution, focusing on the humanitarian aspects of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and prioritising the protection of civilians, was introduced last Wednesday and enjoyed substantial support among Council members. However, it failed to pass due to the use of China’s veto.
Subsequently, the United States introduced a new draft resolution on Saturday, which, according to Zhang, deviated from the consensus reached by Council members and included divisive elements that extended beyond the humanitarian scope. Several Council members, including China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil, proposed amendments to the text, expressing concerns.
Despite these concerns, the resolution’s sponsor made only superficial changes to the draft and expedited the vote. Zhang stated, “China is by no means opposing the council taking actions. What we oppose is that the draft resolution is evasive on the most urgent issue of ending the hostility. It has never been able to call for an immediate ceasefire in clear and unambiguous terms.”
Zhang highlighted the peril of ambiguous Council resolutions concerning war and peace, emphasising that such ambiguity is not only irresponsible but also highly dangerous. He expressed concern that an unclear resolution paves the way for large-scale military actions and encourages further escalation of the conflict.
While acknowledging China’s condemnation of violence against civilians and its support for diplomatic efforts to secure hostage releases, Zhang criticized the draft resolution for not explicitly urging the parties involved to halt indiscriminate and asymmetrical use of force or calling for thorough investigations into heinous attacks, such as the one on Al-Ahli Hospital. He argued that selective application of international law and double standards would lead to more civilian casualties.
Regarding the suffering of people in Gaza, Zhang reiterated China’s strong stance on opening humanitarian corridors, ensuring humanitarian access, and preventing humanitarian crises. However, he criticised the draft resolution for selectively avoiding the root causes of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and failing to call on Israel to lift its siege on Gaza and revoke the evacuation order for northern Gaza.
Zhang underlined that China does not disregard Israel’s security concerns and has consistently advocated for equal attention to the security concerns and legitimate rights of both Israel and Palestine. However, he opposed the draft resolution’s attempt to establish a new narrative on the Palestinian issue and its avoidance of addressing the long-standing occupation of Palestinian territory and the fundamental issue of independent statehood for the Palestinian people. Zhang cautioned that the resolution, if adopted, would jeopardize the two-state solution and intensify the cycle of hatred and confrontation between Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
The ambassador emphasised that China has no selfish interests in the Israel-Palestine question and expressed support for any initiative contributing to peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis. He further stated that China has been actively pushing for meaningful Council actions and binding decisions while emphasising the importance of respecting facts, and history, and taking the right direction to ensure moral and conscientious decisions.
Zhang concluded by affirming China’s readiness to work with the Council’s members and the international community to play a constructive role in ending hostilities, protecting civilians, preventing further humanitarian catastrophes, and achieving a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.