(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
China Criticizes Iran for Threatening to Block Hormuz Strait Oil Shipments
Iran should make more effort to ensure stability in the Middle East and get along with its neighbors, said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong.
He made his remarks during a news briefing ahead of a major summit between China and Arab states that kicks off in Beijing next week.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and some senior military commanders have threatened to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to strangle Tehran’s oil exports.
Carrying one-third of the world’s seaborne oil every day, the Strait of Hormuz links Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond.
Asked about the Iranian threat to the strait, Chen remarked that China and Arab countries had close communications about Middle East peace, including the Iran issue.
“China consistently believes that the relevant country should do more to benefit peace and stability in the region, and jointly protect peace and stability there,” he added.
“Especially as it is a country on the Gulf, it should dedicate itself to being a good neighbor and co-existing peacefully,” he continued. “China will continue to play our positive, constructive role.”
Ministers from 21 Arab countries are attending the summit, as well as Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah. Chinese President Xi Jinping will give the opening address on Tuesday.
The United States Navy vowed on Thursday to protect oil routes and international navigation in the Hormuz Strait in wake of Iran’s threats.
“The US and its partners provide, and promote security and stability in the region,” Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Bill Urban said in an email to Reuters.
Asked what would be the US naval reaction if Iran blocks the strait, he said: “Together, we stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”