China said it is shocked by Israel's attack on Gaza and has called for an immediate halt to the military campaign that has killed nearly 300 people.
Vice Premier Li Keqiang said in a statement on the Foreign Ministry's Web site on monday that the Mideast peace process must continue and that "realistic measures to ease the tension in Gaza" should be carried out.
The appeal comes as Israel widened its air offensive that began on Saturday against Gaza's Hamas rulers.
China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has traditionally supported the Palestinian cause, but it has recently built up relations with Israel. It has become a bigger customer of Israeli military technology.
"China supports the efforts made by all parties, especially the Arab countries, to realise a comprehensive, just peace in the region," Li was quoted as saying during a trip to Kuwait by the official Xinhua News Agency.