China on Friday backed the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for a “humanitarian cease-fire” in the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza.
Guterres' “appeal reflects the international community's strong concerns over the dire situation in Gaza,” said Wang Wenbin, spokesman of China’s Foreign Ministry.
“China supports the mediation efforts” of the UN chief and the Secretariat of the UN, said Wang, according to the Beijing-based daily Global Times.
On Wednesday, Guterres warned the UN Security Council that the war in the Gaza Strip "may aggravate existing threats to international peace and security."
Invoking Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time since he became the organization's secretary-general in 2017, Guterres said in a letter to the Council: "More than eight weeks of hostilities in Gaza and Israel have created appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
The current conditions are making it impossible for "meaningful humanitarian operations" to be conducted, he added.
"I urge the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. I reiterate my appeal for a humanitarian cease-fire to be declared. This is urgent," Guterres said.
Israel resumed its military offensive against the Gaza Strip on Dec. 1 after the end of a weeklong humanitarian pause with the Palestinian group, Hamas.
At least 17,177 Palestinians have been killed and more than 46,000 others injured in relentless air and ground attacks on the enclave since Oct. 7 following a cross-border attack by Hamas.
“At least 290 medics were killed, 102 ambulances destroyed and 160 health care centers targeted in the Israeli attacks, while 20 hospitals and 46 primary care centers were forced out of service,” Gaza-based Health Ministry’s spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said on Thursday.
The Israeli death toll in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack stood at 1,200, according to official figures.