Sun 18 Jun 2023 10:15 am - Jerusalem Time
China: The first non-Arab country to host the PLO in 1965, Sunday 6-18-2023
China is the first foreign country to send an official invitation to the PLO and to host Ahmed Al-Shugairi. China recognized the organization as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and granted its office in Beijing all the diplomatic privileges granted to foreign embassies, which helped strengthen the organization's standing internationally.
The history of Palestinian-Chinese relations dates back to 1965, when China was the first non-Arab country to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization, preceded by its declaration of support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to liberation and return. As a reward for the liberation movements in the world and their support for the Palestinian armed struggle against colonialism. On March 17, 1965, a Palestinian delegation headed by the late Ahmed Al-Shugairi made an official visit to Beijing and held talks with Xuan Lai, then Chinese Prime Minister. He announced the establishment of a representative office for the Palestine Liberation Organization in Beijing. On November 20, 1988, following the declaration of independence, the People's Republic of China announced the recognition of the State of Palestine and the establishment of diplomatic relations with it.
In its infancy, the PLO paid more attention to military and political issues than diplomatic ones; In 1968, the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization became the central department for foreign diplomatic work. The establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization dates back to 1959, when Egypt submitted a proposal to the Council of the League of Arab States, but the decision to establish the PLO by the League of Arab States came out in 1963. In 1964, a general Palestinian conference in Jerusalem announced the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Ahmed Al-Shugairi was elected president of the organization. In 1969, Yasser Arafat, leader of the Fatah movement, was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. In 1974, the Arab Summit recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as the "sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" in all places of its presence, and the United Nations subsequently granted it observer status under a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly. The year 1974 witnessed a milestone for Palestinian diplomacy at the United Nations, as dozens of resolutions were adopted, including Resolutions 3237 and 3210, which affirmed the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. February 1989 The PLO obtained recognition from 94 countries, and during the session of the UN Security Council in 1989, Palestine was granted the right to raise a point of order and speak on its behalf in an issue related to the Palestinian situation or the Middle East.
Between 1974-1982 the organization was engaged in diplomacy centered on gaining international recognition as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and this period witnessed an increasing reliance on diplomatic work as a major direct tool for the political struggle. The Non-Aligned Movement accepted the PLO as a full member in 1976. The Organization of African Unity granted the PLO observer status. In 1977, the PLO established the Department of National and International Relations, charged with working with human rights organizations, non-ruling political parties, and all NGOs working for peace.
China was the first foreign country to host the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (1965). It agreed to establish a diplomatic mission for the Palestine Liberation Organization in Beijing. After 6 years, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, made his first public visit to the Soviet Union in 1971. The Palestine Liberation Organization also resorted to the United Nations to improve the legal status of the organization, and succeeded in 1970 by participating in the discussion of the "Palestine issue" in the Political Committee of the General Assembly. to the United Nations, followed by the adoption of two resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly affirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, namely Resolutions No. (2672 and 2628). The United Nations then recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974.
In light of the alliances that we are witnessing in the region, and the public reconciliation between the historically hostile regimes, and after the convening of the Riyadh-Chinese Arab Summit for Cooperation and Development in December 2022, and after China’s sponsorship of restoring relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the return of Syria to the Arab League.
The visit of President Mahmoud Abbas comes to strengthen and sustain the strategic historical relations between Palestine and China. This is the fifth visit of President Mahmoud Abbas to Beijing since 2005, as the first visit was in 2005, then 2010 to the Shanghai Organization, and two visits at the state level in 2013 and 2017. The visit of the President comes To Beijing on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the recognition of the State of Palestine and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two friendly countries, and within the framework of the Palestinian and Chinese leaderships' keenness to promote and consolidate strong bilateral relations in all fields.
Regardless of the main purpose of the visit, whether to obtain financial or political support or to organize an international peace conference, China is a superpower and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It is wise for the Palestinian decision-maker to plan diplomatically strategically, continue to build alliances, and expand representation in all arenas. Palestinian diplomacy must draw networking maps at the level of foreign policy and find interests and attractiveness in its relations. We live in a rapidly changing, pragmatic world that cannot afford to miss opportunities, especially in the field of foreign relations and United Nations diplomacy, regardless of the internal affairs of states and the accusing fingers they face from a unipolar system.
Dalal Erekat: Professor of Diplomacy and Strategic Planning, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Arab American University.
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