The United States would lose Saudi Arabia as an ally if it blocks the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations.Western powers are worried that they are losing influence in the resource-rich continent.Chinese President
Hu Jintao told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an exchange of notes last
week that Beijing has “always supported the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish an independent state” in areas such as the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
The exchange of letters between Hu and Abbas comes as the Palestinian president launches a major diplomatic offensive to win international recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
Abbas, in effect, has given up on the U.S. position of first holding bilateral talks with Israel to reach a solution prior to going to the U.N.
The course adjustment followed Israel’s resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank, which the Palestinians want as part of their new state.
While China’s stance is no surprise, it further complicates U.S.-China relations at a time when the U.S. position in the Middle East has eroded.
China also is flexing its influence elsewhere and has raised challenges to U.S. military presence in East Asia.
Beijing has become a “lender of last resort” to the U.S. to the tune of trillions. It holds more than $3 trillion in foreign reserves, mostly in U.S. bonds.
China also has begun to assert itself and challenge U.S. standing in Africa and in Latin American, the backyard of the U.S.
The latest challenge from Beijing in the Middle East is to fill a “void of influence” as Chinese interests have expanded greatly there in recent years.