China claims it had no ulterior motive in mediating Friday’s peace talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with the two Middle Eastern countries restoring diplomatic ties after years of animosity.
A spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that China “does not pursue any selfish interest in the Middle East”.
“We respect the status of Middle Eastern countries as the masters of the region and oppose geopolitical competition in the Middle East,” the statement said. “China does not intend and will not attempt to fill [a] to set up so-called vacuum or exclusive blocks.”
Friday’s agreement to restore ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia and reopen embassies after seven years was seen as a major diplomatic victory for China as Gulf Arab states view the United States as reducing its presence in the Middle East. -East.
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China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi said the agreement demonstrates that China is a “reliable mediator” that has “faithfully fulfilled its obligations as a host”.
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China is seen as a neutral party, with strong ties to Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Saturday’s comments came after China received a hard line from Iran President Ebrahim Raisi last month to consolidate ties between the two countries.
China is also one of the largest buyers of Saudi oil. Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited Riyadh in December for meetings with oil-rich Gulf Arab states critical to China’s energy supply.
Xi, whose government has warned of “conflicts and confrontations” with the US in recent days, was credited in a trilateral statement with facilitating the Iran-Saudi talks through a “noble initiative” and personally agreeing to sponsor of the negotiations that lasted from Monday. through Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.