China voices ‘deep concern’ following Iranian attack on Israel and urges ‘influential countries’ to work for peace
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“China calls on the international community, especially influential countries, to play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability.”

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Although the statement did not specify which “influential countries” it was referring to, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged the United States to play a “constructive role” in the Middle East during a phone call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.
On Sunday morning, the Chinese embassy in Iran reminded Chinese citizens to “strengthen safety precautions” as the “local situation in Iran is becoming more serious and complex”.

“Please resolutely avoid travelling to sensitive areas and crowded places,” the embassy said on its official WeChat account.

The foreign ministry also joined the call, reminding Chinese citizens to “remain cautious about travelling to Iran” in a separate statement.

Saturday night’s strike was Iran’s first direct attack on Israeli territory.

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The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an urgent meeting following Iran’s attack.

Israel has called on the Security Council – in which China holds a permanent seat alongside the US, Britain, France and Russia – to condemn the Iranian attack and list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the main branch of Iran’s armed forces, as a terrorist organisation.

Tehran vowed revenge after at least seven military advisers were killed in an Israeli attack on a consulate building at the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital Damascus earlier this month.

Thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran on Sunday morning to show their support for the attack on Israel, their country’s main enemy.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden condemned the Iranian attack on Saturday night and reaffirmed Washington’s “ironclad” support for Israel.

Chinese analysts say Iran’s attack on Israel is unlikely to have a substantial impact on relations between China and the two countries.

Zhu Yongbiao, a professor with the school of politics and international relations at Lanzhou University, said: “If the situation gets worse, it will have a big impact not only on China, but also on the whole regional situation and world security, which is something China does not want to see.”

Zhu added that there was “very wide scope” for China in the Middle East conflicts, including “at a higher level by stopping further escalation of the Iran-Israel conflict, and at another level by opening humanitarian access to Gaza”.

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Yin Gang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, echoed this view, saying that Tehran’s attack would have “no impact” on China’s relations with Iran or Israel.

“Beijing calls for restraint on both sides, and this is a stance taken for granted and has no special significance,” he said.

According to Yin, the attack was rather “a way for Iran to calm the anger of its people”.

Wang Jin, an associate professor at the Institute of Middle East Studies at China’s Northwest University, said Beijing’s statement was “timely” and “acceptable to all parties to the conflict”.

Wang added that the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement, which did not condemn the Iranian attack, was consistent with Beijing’s position that Israel’s attack earlier this month amounted to “spillover” to other countries and that Iran’s attack was a “countermeasure and retaliation”.

Beijing condemned Israel’s attack on the Iranian embassy earlier this month.

China is playing a greater role in the Middle East and facilitated the restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March of last year.

Also last year, Iran became the ninth member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a regional security and economic group.

In December, Beijing and Tehran vowed to support and coordinate with each other diplomatically during the Israel-Gaza war.

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