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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants China’s help in pressing for an upgrade in the Palestinians’ U.N. status from permanent observer to nonmember observer, which could boost their chances of joining additional U.N. bodies such as the International Criminal Court, where they could attempt to prosecute Israel.

Israel and the United States oppose the move, saying Palestinians should negotiate their statehood in peace talks and not conduct unilateral moves.

“We are aware that the United States will press relevant sides not to issue the resolution, but we count on China for its weight that is parallel to that of the America,” Mr. al-Salhi told China’s state Xinhua News Agency ahead of his three-day trip. Mr. al-Salhi is due to meet with China’s foreign minister on Friday.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China supported the establishment of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.

China understands, respects and supports Palestine’s decision” to seek nonmember observer status at the U.N., Hua said.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports