China Seeks Iran to Pressurize the Houthis (Shipping Lane Attacks)
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
China is dismayed by current events in the Gulf of Eden and the Red Sea concerning Houthi attacks on commercial ships.
Unlike America and the United Kingdom, China is reluctant to openly condemn the Houthis in Yemen. This relates to China’s policies focusing on developing ties with all regional nations throughout the Gulf region. Also, with the Houthis claiming an anti-Israel angle – concerning the crisis in Gaza – China will shy away from openly condemning the Houthis.
However, behind the scenes, China is dismayed and is requesting Iran to pressure the Houthis to desist from attacking commercial ships.
Reuters reports, “The discussions about the attacks and trade between China and Iran took place at several recent meetings in Beijing and Tehran, the Iranian sources said, declining to provide details about when they took place or who attended.”
The economy of China is far from robust in recent years. Accordingly, China utilizes this important trade route that links essential markets and supply chains between Asia and Europe.
Protests in Iran have happened in the past when citizens denounced Iran’s meddling in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria because of poverty at home. Hence, Iran can’t afford to overstretch its anti-Israel geopolitical hand at the expense of economic tensions with China.
Approximately 13% of international trade transits through the region (Red Sea, Suez Canal, and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait) concerning natural gas, oil, grain, and countless goods.
Jake Sullivan (United States National Security Adviser) and Wang Yi (Foreign Minister of China) held talks concerning the Houthi attacks against commercial shipping and other important issues.
Voice of America reports, “Earlier Friday, the USS Carney was targeted by a Houthi missile as it patrolled in the Gulf of Aden. The destroyer shot down the missile, but it was the first time a U.S. warship was targeted by the Yemen-based rebels.”
If Iran doesn’t take measures to restrain the Houthis, then China might utilize its economic leverages – even if in a quietist way.
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