HONG KONG -- The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, arrived in Beijing on Sunday seeking support from its leaders, days before the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, will also visit Beijing, although Israeli officials have said there are no plans for a meeting between the two.
China has tried to keep firm ties with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while supporting Palestinian demands for statehood and occasionally chiding the Israeli government for its policies toward the Palestinians. But China has shown scant appetite for a major role as a broker in that and other conflicts in the Middle East.
A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, told reporters in Beijing last week, ''If the Palestinian and Israeli leaders want to meet each other in China, we will happily provide the necessary assistance."
China "supports the Palestinian and Israeli sides in resolving their differences and disputes through peace talks,'' Ms. Hua said at a news briefing on Thursday. ''China's reception of the Palestinian and Israeli leaders for visits is also a part of these efforts."
But Mr. Netanyahu will arrive in Beijing on Wednesday, after Mr. Abbas leaves Tuesday night, according to Israeli government officials, who said there would be no encounter in China between the two.
Mr. Netanyahu will first visit Shanghai, where he arrives on Monday, though his departure from Israel was delayed Sunday so he could attend a security council meeting to discuss the increased tensions in the Middle East after the Syrian government blamed Israel for four huge explosions near the Syrian capital, calling them an "act of war." The last visit to China by an Israeli prime minister was by Ehud Olmert in 2007.
Before his visit, Mr. Abbas told Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, that he would ask China ''to use its relationship with Israel to remove the obstacles that obstruct the Palestinian economy."
The Palestinian Authority, which has limited control over the West Bank, has been in financial distress, in part because of shrinking donations from foreign supporters and Israel's withholding of tax revenue transfers in response to Mr. Abbas's bid for enhanced status for the Palestinians at the United Nations.
Israel's diplomatic dealings with China are dominated by broader Middle Eastern security concerns, especially Iran's disputed nuclear program and the worsening violence in Syria. Those two issues are likely to feature in Mr. Netanyahu's talks with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping; the prime minister, Li Keqiang; and other officials.
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has backed resolutions aimed at pressing Iran to curtail nuclear activities that Israel, the United States and other Western governments say are aimed at giving Iran the means to make nuclear weapons. But China is a major buyer of Iranian oil, and has criticized Western governments' unilateral sanctions aimed at curtailing that oil trade.
China has stood alongside Russia in resisting Western calls for stronger intervention in the Syrian conflict, instead arguing that there is still hope of a negotiated solution.
Jodi Rudoren contributed reporting from Jerusalem.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.