China Offers Its Support for Arafat

From Associated Press

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat won a statement of support from China's leader before traveling Saturday to Malaysia, the latest stop on his whirlwind Asian tour.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, Arafat blamed Israel for the latest round of Mideast violence, accusing the Israeli army of attacking his people with gas bombs, fighter planes and tanks and laying "a siege" over Palestinian towns.

Earlier, in Beijing, Chinese President Jiang Zemin expressed unwavering support for the Palestinians. He told Arafat that observers should be sent to the Middle East to help shepherd the region toward peace, official Chinese media reported Saturday.

"The Chinese people will always stand on the side of the Palestinians' just cause," Jiang told Arafat on Friday, according to the New China News Agency. It described the meeting as "warm and friendly."

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