Qatar foreign minister in China after visit by UAE official

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was scheduled to meet Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi later in the day

epa06045472 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks at a joint news conference with his Lebanese counterpart Gibran Bassil (not pictured) after their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Beirut, Lebanon, 23 June 2017. Wang Yi is on an official visit to meet with Lebanese officials.  EPA/WAEL HAMZEH
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The Qatari foreign minister began a visit to Beijing on Thursday, a day after his Chinese counterpart told a top UAE official that China hoped the rift between the Gulf countries could be repaired.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani was due to meet Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi later in the day, China's foreign ministry said, although no details of any discussions were immediately released.

China supported calls to fight terrorism, maintain stability in the Gulf and shore up unity among members of the GCC, ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

Mr Wang met with UAE Minister of State Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber on Wednesday, raising speculation that China was seeking to act in a mediating role. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and cut air, sea and land routes with it over a month ago, accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups. Qatar denies the allegations.

However, Sheikh Saif Al Thani, the head of Qatar's government communications office, said suggestions that Mr Al Thani and Mr Al Jaber were meeting in Beijing were "not true".

In his talks with Mr Al Jaber, Mr Wang said China is "confident that Gulf countries have the wisdom to resolve divergence and is willing to play a constructive role to help ease tensions according to the will of regional parties", according to China's official Xinhua news agency.

China believes the crisis should be resolved through "political and diplomatic means" within the framework of the GCC, while outside parties can play a constructive role in furthering that process, Mr Wang was quoted as saying.

Xinhua quoted Mr Al Jaber as praising China's "objective and impartial position" on affairs concerning Gulf nations.