BEIJING — Israel and China established diplomatic ties today, clearing the way for China to join in the Middle East peace talks.
China, which also recognizes the Palestinian state declared by the Palestine Liberation Organization, has announced plans to send a delegation to Moscow to join in next week's round of multilateral talks.
Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy and his Chinese counterpart, Qian Qichen, signed the diplomatic protocol in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.
It is not clear what stance China, a longtime PLO champion, will take at the Moscow talks. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Barukh Binah said Wednesday that his government is not concerned about China's close ties with the PLO because the PLO is excluded from the talks.
China has been propelled toward ties with Israel out of pragmatic concerns. Its leaders want to expand China's influence in world affairs, which they realize will stay limited if they do not deal with all the key countries.
Over the past year and a half, China has established or normalized ties with Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Israel and has moved toward establishing relations with South Korea and South Africa.