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China voices opposition to Israeli settlement expansion


16:54, December 22, 2012

BEIJING, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Friday reiterated China's firm opposition to the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, urging Israel to make constructive efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East.

"China's stance is consistent and clear on the settlement issue," spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

"(We) firmly oppose Israel's construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory of East Jerusalem and the West Bank," she said.

China is also concerned about Israel's plans to build settlements in the E1 area, she added.

Israel is under diplomatic pressure from the international community over its plans to build 3,000 houses in the West Bank settlements, East Jerusalem and the E1 territories connecting the two areas.

These territories were annexed by Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Construction in E1 has been criticized because it could block the territorial formation of a future Palestinian state.

"The Chinese side urges the Israeli side to avoid moves that will escalate tensions and hamper the resumption of negotiations between Palestine and Israel," said the spokeswoman.

"(Israel should) take substantial steps to rebuild mutual trust with Palestine and make constructive efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East and maintain peace and stability in the region," she added.

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