China commerce ministry ‘closely following’ Red Sea developments

BEIJING: China’s commerce ministry has said it is closely following developments in the Red Sea, state media reported, after attacks by Houthi rebels on ships in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

“It is hoped that the relevant parties will proceed from the overall interests of regional security and stability as well as the common interests of the international community,” ministry spokesman He Yadong said on Thursday (Jan 18), according to state news agency Xinhua.

Beijing hopes those involved will “restore and ensure the safety of waterways in the Red Sea and jointly maintain the smooth flow of global production and supply chains as well as the normal order of international trade”, Xinhua reported He as saying.

“We will also strengthen coordination with relevant departments, closely follow relevant developments, and provide timely support and assistance to foreign trade companies,” He said.

Houthi aggression against vessels in and around the Red Sea has led to retaliatory strikes in Yemen by United States and British forces.

Some shipping firms are avoiding the crucial trade artery, causing delays along international trade routes.

In an interview published on Friday, a senior Houthi official promised safe passage for Russian and Chinese vessels through the Red Sea.

Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said that the waters around Yemen were safe so long as vessels were not linked to certain countries, particularly Israel.

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