fifty years ago November 19, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (November 19, 1971): Peking wooing Arab world

Beirut, Nov. 18: China seems to be mending its diplomatic fences with the Arab countries. This is the impression gained from the Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Chiao Kuanhua’s inaugural speech in the U.N. General Assembly expressing support for Palestinian and other Arab peoples’ struggle against aggression. For while China’s undiluted support for Arab causes was taken for granted few expected such a powerful statement from Peking in the U.N.

As screaming banner headlines carried Mr. Chiao’s U.N. speech in the Arab press it was announced from Jordan that an exchange of Ambassadors with China would take place. Peking has no relations with Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Bahrain, Qatar and Oman have no diplomatic ties because of their recent emergence to authority. Peking is now busy trying to improve relations with Cairo and Khartoum (Sudan). Peking has consistently maintained that West Asia problems could only be solved through war and denounced the Russians for working on a political solution. Arab observers are now speculating about the definition of Chinese support — whether they advocate war or a political solution.

Meanwhile Israel is growing increasingly suspicious of almost every country. It is suspicious of American intentions because of the Nixon Administration holding up the supply of Phantom jets. The French embargo of 1967 on supply of 20 Mirage fighters is taken as not only a hostile act but also as a breach of contract.

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