China on Wednesday announced its support for Palestine's plans to seek full membership in the United Nations next month.
Because Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the terms of Palestinian statehood have been frozen since 2008, Palestinians have decided to seek UN recognition of an independent "Palestine" in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, the areas Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.
Should the bid be successful, Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas claimed the Palestinian Authority would discuss the finer details of a future Palestinian state in talks with the Israeli leadership.
"China has always supported the just cause of Palestinian people. Having its own state is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people co-existing peacefully with Israel," Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that the Palestinian bid for UN recognition would "set back peace, and might set it back for years."
Washington has also opposed UN recognition of a Palestinian state, calling it a unilateral step in a conflict that should be resolved through negotiation. The U.S. administration has made clear that it would veto any Palestinian request to the Security Council for membership as a state.
But a majority at the General Assembly is expected to support the promotion of the Palestinians to the status of non-voting observer state.
Two senior White House envoys arrived Tuesday for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a last-ditch effort to head off the Palestinian bid. They are pressing for a resumption of the peace talks.