China called on Friday for an end to “harassment” of civilian vessels in the Red Sea following attacks by Houthi rebels in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
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In response to these attacks, US and British forces attacked Houthi sites in Yemen, where they are based.
The Houthi attacks target dozens of commercial vessels they believe are “connected to Israel.” They have forced many shipowners to stop allowing their fleets to pass through this important area for trade.
“The waters of the Red Sea represent an important international trade route for goods and energy,” Mao Ning, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on Friday.
“We call for an end to the harassment of civilian ships and the maintenance of smooth global supply chains and the international trade order,” she told a regular news conference.
In an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia published on Friday, a member of the Houthi political leadership, Mohammed al-Bukhait, assured that the Chinese and Russian ships were not threatened.
“We are even ready to ensure the safe passage of their ships through the Red Sea,” he emphasized.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce had already called on Thursday to “restore and ensure the safety of the Red Sea waterways”.
“It is hoped that the parties concerned will act in the general interest of regional security and stability as well as the common interest of the international community,” a ministry spokesman, He Yadong, said, according to the New China news agency.
Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for attacks on an American merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden on Friday.
They say they are acting in solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip and have carried out numerous attacks on the sea lanes around Yemen since the war between Hamas and Israel broke out in Gaza in October.
“The top priority is therefore to end the war in Gaza as quickly as possible to prevent the conflict from spreading further or even getting out of control,” Mao Ning said, citing the position of Wang Yi, the Chinese Defense Ministry . Foreign Affairs.