In response to the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, China’s People’s Liberation Army has dispatched six warships to the region, the South China Morning Post reports.
According to the media outlet, the fleet includes the Zibo, a guided-missile destroyer; the frigate Jingzhou, and the integrated supply ship Qiandaohu. They are part of the PLA’s 44th naval escort task force. The vessels departed from Muscat on Oct. 14, heading for an undisclosed location, according to Chinese state media.
This move marks the presence of six Chinese ships in the Middle East during a period of heightened tension. The United States has also responded by deploying the USS Gerald R Ford, its most advanced aircraft carrier, and a battle group to the West Asia region. Other nations, including Britain, Germany, and France, have dispatched military or civilian aircraft to evacuate their citizens from Israel.
China’s foreign ministry has urged Chinese nationals to leave the region via commercial flights, although no official evacuation plan has been announced. In the past, China has used escort warships for evacuation purposes, as seen in May when a supply ship and a destroyer were used to evacuate over 1,000 Chinese, Brazilians, and Pakistanis from conflict zones.
In 2015, Chinese warships were instrumental in evacuating 225 foreigners and nearly 600 Chinese nationals from Yemen. On Oct. 19, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China’s longstanding support for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state, describing it as “the fundamental way” to resolve the ongoing conflict.
President Jinping also stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire to prevent the conflict from escalating further and causing a severe humanitarian crisis.
Read more at Times of India.