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Chinese official criticizes US for its UN votes on Gaza cease-fire

jakarta, indonesia — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized the United States on Thursday for its votes on previous United Nations resolutions for a Gaza cease-fire, following talks in Jakarta with his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi.

During the talks, Wang highlighted the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East, and he called on all parties to exercise restraint in the conflict.

“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 cease-fire in Gaza, but it was repeatedly vetoed by the United States,” Wang said at a news briefing at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

Wang acknowledged the passage of a Security Council cease-fire resolution in March, saying, “This time, the U.S. did not dare to stand in opposition to international morality and chose to abstain.”

He added that the U.S. claimed the resolution was not binding and 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 United States has said it vetoed previous resolutions for not being linked to the release of Hamas hostages.

Both ministers expressed frustration over the humanitarian disaster caused by the Palestinian-Israel conflict. “We agree that the U.N. Security Council resolution on a cease-fire must be fully implemented and without any condition,” said Wang.

China and Indonesia both support full Palestinian membership in the United Nations. Currently, the Palestinian Authority is a nonmember observer state, but it has sought full membership since 2011.

Indonesia does not recognize Israel and has strongly supported the Palestinian cause.

Meeting with Widodo

At a meeting with President Joko Widodo, Wang expressed China’s interest in deepening cooperation and investment in energy transition, infrastructure, and the production and marketing of refined petroleum products.

Widodo highlighted bilateral trade between Indonesia and China and expressed hopes that China will further open its market for Indonesian goods, including by resolving disputes over Indonesian agricultural and fishery products.

Widodo also urged the construction of a strategic petrochemical project in Northern Kalimantan and further collaboration on food security, including replicating Chinese-style cultivation methods in growing rice, horticultural crops and durian fruit.

China is Indonesia’s biggest trade partner, with a yearly trade volume reaching more than $127 billion. China is also one of Indonesia’s biggest foreign investors, with an investment value of more than $7.4 billion in 2023.

Indonesia and China will discuss the details of increasing cooperation on Friday in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara province.

Apart from economic cooperation, Marsudi said that efforts to tackle cross-border crimes, including online fraud, will be discussed at the event.

Wang will also visit Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.

Later Thursday, Wang met with Widodo and his soon-to-be successor, President-elect Prabowo Subianto, the current defense minister of Indonesia.

Prabowo won the presidential election in February, and like his predecessor, he supports close ties with Beijing while seeking to balance diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.

The Indonesian Defense Ministry said Thursday that Wang and Prabowo discussed plans for joint military exercises.

Some information for this report came from Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.