China to send envoy on Middle East mission


China plans to send a special envoy to the Middle East next month to bolster peace efforts in the troubled region.

China's ambassador to Bahrain, Jordan and Iran in the 1990s, Mr Wang Shijie, will be the envoy, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced.

"We hope, through strengthening contact with the relevant parties, China will be able to make active efforts to ease tensions in the Middle East and promote an early solution to the Palestinian and Israeli conflict," a ministry spokesman said.

"Now we are consulting with the relevant countries on the exact date and arrangement of this visit," he told a news conference.

China is a longtime political ally of Palestinian President Mr Yasser Arafat but also has growing trade ties with Israel, which has sold China military equipment.