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BEIJING: China is “deeply concerned” about escalating tensions in the Middle East after Iran launched drones and missiles in a retaliatory strike against Israel, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Sunday.

Iran’s strikes marked its first direct attack on Israeli territory, raising the threat of a wider conflict in the region where China has sought to play a role as a mediator and from where it sources a growing proportion of its energy imports.

“China calls on relevant parties to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalation of tensions,” the spokesperson said in a statement in the form of a response to a question from unidentified reporters about the Iranian attacks.

The statement was posted on the ministry’s website.

“China calls on the international community, especially influential countries, to play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability,” the spokesperson, who was also not identified, said in the statement.

The war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, now in its seventh month, has ratcheted up regional tensions, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire from Yemen, and Iraq at Israeli targets.

The Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson said that this round of tensions was a “spillover from the Gaza conflict,” adding that quelling it as soon as possible was “a top priority”.

Israel says Hamas has rejected hostage deal proposal

China mediated between Iran and Saudi Arabia last year, and Reuters reported China had asked Iran to help rein in attacks on ships in the Red Sea by the Iran-backed Houthis, or risk harming business relations with Beijing.

Earlier on Sunday, the Chinese embassy in Iran advised Chinese nationals and companies in the country to strengthen security precautions, according to state television CCTV.

China Southern Airlines has cancelled a flight to Iran for Sunday and Hainan Airlines is saying they are monitoring the situation closely and is evaluating whether an upcoming flight to Israel can fly normally, according to Chinese business outlet Yicai.

China Southern has a direct flight from Urumqi in China’s Xinjiang region to Tehran on Sunday and Hainan Airlines has a direct flight from the southern city of Shenzhen to Tel Aviv scheduled on Tuesday, according to flight tracking app Flight Master.

Japan strongly condemns Iran attack on Israel

Japan also strongly condemned the retaliatory attack by Iran on Israel, calling it an escalation of events and saying it was deeply concerned at the situation, in a statement released by the foreign minister on Sunday.

“This attack is one that further worsens the current Middle East situation. We are deeply concerned and strongly condemn this sort of escalation,” the statement said.

Comments

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SAMIR SARDANA Apr 14, 2024 12:54pm
THE TRILLION DOLLAR QUESTION ! WILL BENJY USE IRAN ATTACK TO GO FOR IRAN NUKE PROGRAMS ? IS IRAN BAITING BENJY ? ISRAEL WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER CHANCE -EVER ! Y DID IRAN TAKE 15 DAYS ? SAMIR SARDANA
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SAMIR SARDANA Apr 14, 2024 03:55pm
IRAN TOOK 15 DAYS TO SOUND OF US AND EU LIKE IN THE SOLEIMANI RETALIATION! IRON DOME IS NOT FOR BALLISTIC MISSILES ! IT IS FOR ROCKETS IRAN HAS GAMED THE IAF ! MISSION ACHIEVED !
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