China warns US against Middle East entanglement

China warns US against Middle East entanglement
China has said the US should tone down tensions with Iran, to avoid a wider regional conflict.
2 min read
18 June, 2019
Wang Yi has warned against tensions rising [Getty]
China on Tuesday Washington against entanglement in the Middle East, as tensions between Iran and the US continue to rise.

Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said that the near-conflict between the US and Iran could open up "Pandora's Box" and plunge the region into war.

After meeting Syria's foreign minister, Yi urged Washington to avoid putting "extreme pressure" on Iran following a series of attacks on shipping in Gulf waters, which the US blames Tehran for.

"We call on all sides to remain rational and exercise restraint, and not take any escalatory actions that irritate regional tensions, and not open a Pandora's box," Wang said, according to Reuters.

"In particular, the US side should alter its extreme pressure methods. Any unilateral behaviour has no basis in international law. Not only will it not resolve the problem, it will only create an even greater crisis."

Tensions between the US and Iran have been at fever pitch since Washington pulled out of a nuclear deal with Tehran and slapped punishing sanctions on the country.

The move has emboldened hardliners in Iran and led to Tehran pulling out of previous pledges on nuclear issues.

Washington has also sent more military units to the Gulf after "intelligence warnings" of planned attacks by Iran on the US presence in the region.

US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan also announced on Monday that a thousand more American troops would be sent to the Gulf.

"I have authorised approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East," Shanahan said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera.

"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region." 

Yi urged Iran and the US to look into the nuclear deal again to resolve their differences.

"We understand that relevant parties may have different concerns but first of all the comprehensive nuclear deal should be properly implemented," he added.

"We hope that Iran is cautious with its decision-making and not lightly abandon this agreement."