The US on Monday expressed its openness to China playing a "constructive role" in the Middle East but said "there is no substitute for US leadership" in the region.
"We would welcome China playing a constructive role in the Middle East," State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said at his press briefing.
He was responding to a question about a meeting in Beijing between China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the foreign ministers of Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, and Jordan.
“The Secretary has made this clear personally in his conversations with Wang Yi,” he said. “He called Wang Yi on our first trip to the Middle East and said if there's anything they can do to prevent the conflict from widening in terms of using the lines of communications that they have available to countries in the Middle East, we would welcome that,” he added.
However, Miller underlined that the US hears from its regional partners that "there is no substitute for US leadership."
Miller also mentioned that Blinken and Wang also had a “very productive conversation” in Washington DC ahead of the APEC summit in San Francisco last week.
Wang on Monday met a group of foreign ministers from key member nations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Beijing to discuss the situation in Gaza, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry.
During the meeting with foreign ministers of Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, and Jordan, Wang said a ceasefire is a "matter of life and death for the people of Gaza," while opposing the forced displacement of Palestinians from the besieged Gaza.