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China and Indonesia call for cease-fire in Gaza

JAKARTA (AP) – The Chinese and Indonesian foreign ministers called for an immediate and lasting cease-fire in Gaza after a meeting in Jakarta on Thursday, condemning the humanitarian costs of the ongoing war that has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi told reporters that the two countries share the same view about the importance of a cease-fire and of resolving the Palestinian problem through a two-state solution.

“I am sure that China would use its influence to prevent escalation,” Marsudi said, adding that China and Indonesia “would also fully support Palestine’s membership in the UN”

The meeting took place on the second day of a six-day tour during which Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also visit Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.

Wang blamed the United States for holding up ceasefire resolutions at the UN

“The conflict in Gaza has lasted for half a year and caused a rare humanitarian tragedy in the 21st century. The United Nations Security Council responded to the call of the international community and continued to review the resolution draft on the ceasefire in Gaza, but it was repeatedly vetoed by the United States,” Wang told reporters.

The US vetoed a number of proposed Security Council resolutions because they didn’t tie cease-fire directly to the release of Israel hostages or condemn Hamas’ attacks that prompted the war, before allowing a resolution to a pass with an abstention in late March.

American officials have argued that the cease-fire and hostage releases are linked, while Russia, China and many other council members favoured unconditional calls for a cease-fire.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, walks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi during their bilateral meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, April 18. PHOTO: AP
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, left, speaks during their bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, April 18. PHOTO: AP

“This time, the US did not dare to stand in opposition to international morality and chose to abstain. However, the US claimed that this resolution was not binding,” Wang said. “In the eyes of the United States, international law seems to be a tool that can be used whenever it finds useful and discarded if it does not want to use it.”

The two ministers also discussed their countries’ economic relationship and the South China Sea.

China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner, with the trade volume reaching more than USD127 billion. China is also one of Indonesia’s largest foreign investors, with investment flows of more than USD7.4 billion in 2023.

Later Thursday, Wang is also scheduled to meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo and president-elect Prabowo Subianto, who is currently defence minister.