China on Sunday voiced opposition to the abuse of military force by the US in Iraq, days after a US drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad and a senior Iraqi militia figure.
The statement by Foreign Minister Wang Yi came after he spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov late Saturday to discuss the tension in the Middle East, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Wang urged the US against military adventurism and abusing the use of force, which he warned risked escalating regional tensions.
He said military adventurism was unacceptable and called on Washington to respect Iraq’s sovereignty, the agency added.
Wang also spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, discussing the current situation in the region, according to Xinhua.
He added that dangerous US military actions violated the basic norms of international relations and would aggravate regional tensions.
For his part, Zarif informed his Chinese counterpart that Tehran sent a letter to the UN secretary-general, hoping that Beijing would play an important role in preventing further escalation, the agency said.
Tension between US and Iran mounted after the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was killed when a US drone struck his convoy outside Baghdad’s airport on Friday.
The US strike on Soleimani’s convoy at Baghdad airport also killed Iranian-backed Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and it raised the specter of wider conflict in the Middle East.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who gave Soleimani the country’s highest honor last year, vowed “severe retaliation” in response to his killing. Thousands mourned his death in Iraq, Iran and Gaza.
The Pentagon accused Soleimani of plotting the embassy attack and planning to carry out additional attacks on US diplomats and service members in Iraq and the region.
Qassem Soleimani was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the mastermind of its regional security strategy. He was killed early Friday near the Baghdad international airport along with senior Iraqi militants in an airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump. The attack has caused regional tensions to soar and tested the US alliance with Iraq. Fearing escalation, NATO has suspended it’s training activities in Iraq, while the British Navy has committed to escort every UK-flagged ship across the Straits of Hormuz.
Showing no signs of seeking to reduce tensions, the US president has since issued a stern threat to Iran on Twitter, saying that the US has targeted 52 Iranian sites that it would strike if Iran attacks Americans or US assets in response to the US drone strike that killed Soleimani. He later added that the US will use ‘new’ equipment to strike Iran.