China urged Israel to end its collective punishment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, saying that “Israel’s actions have gone beyond self-defense.”

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s comments came during a series of weekend calls, as world leaders worked to avert a wider conflict in the Middle East.

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The Chinese foreign minister said there is a need for all parties to return to the negotiation table and desist from further escalating the conflict.

“It should listen earnestly to the calls of the international community and the UN secretary general, and cease its collective punishment of the people of Gaza.