China disappointed over US veto on Israel-Hamas ceasefire vote - state media

Vote on U.N. Security Council resolution to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza in New York

(Reuters) -China expressed "strong disappointment" over the United States blocking a draft United Nations Security Council resolution on the Israel-Hamas war calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, Xinhua said on Wednesday, citing its U.N. representative Zhang Jun.

The United States on Tuesday vetoed for the third time a draft United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution, blocking a demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire as it instead pushes the 15-member body towards a rival draft that calls for a temporary ceasefire linked to the release of hostages held by Hamas.

The U.S. has said the draft resolution put forward by Algeria could jeopardize "sensitive negotiations" between U.S., Egypt, Israel and Qatar aimed at brokering a pause in fighting and securing the release of hostages.

"China expresses its strong disappointment at and dissatisfaction with the U.S. veto," Xinhua said, citing Zhang who urged the UNSC to push for a ceasefire calling it a "moral obligation that the council cannot shy away from".

"The U.S. veto sends a wrong message, pushing the situation in Gaza into a more dangerous one," said Zhang, adding that objection to ceasefire in Gaza is "nothing different from giving the green light to the continued slaughter".

Zhang said the spillover of the conflict is destabilising the Middle East region, raising risks of a wider war.

"Only by extinguishing the flames of war in Gaza can the world prevent the fires of hell from engulfing the entire region," Xinhua cited him as saying.

(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru and Liz Lee in Beijing; Editing by Chris Reese, Christopher Cushing and Michael Perry)