China urges UN to act on Israel-Palestinian conflict

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Fire engulfs a building after an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City Thursday

China on Thursday expressed a "high degree of concern" over deadly clashes between Israel and Palestinians and urged the United Nations Security Council to do more to de-escalate tensions and implement a two-state solution.

The most intense hostilities in seven years have killed at least 83 people in Gaza and seven in Israel since Monday.

On Friday the Security Council is to hold another emergency meeting after Tunisia, Norway and China urged the body to reconvene despite resistance from the United States, which acts as a diplomatic shield for ally Israel.

An earlier emergency meeting held Wednesday ended without agreement on a joint statement due to opposition from the United States, diplomats said.

"China expresses a high degree of concern regarding the current situation between Palestine and Israel," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, adding that China was ready to draft and circulate a statement on behalf of the body.

"However, due to the obstruction of individual countries, no agreement has been reached so far," added Hua.

"The Security Council should take action, reiterate its commitment to and firm support for the two-state solution."

One of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China holds the rotating presidency this month.

Beijing is often criticised by the United States for vetoing Security Council statements including when it blocked an attempt to condemn the military coup in Myanmar.

Friday's expected meeting will be public and include participation by Israel and the Palestinians, diplomats told AFP Wednesday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a US envoy would travel to the Middle East in an effort to calm tensions.

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