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China says ‘stop groundless hype’ about naval deployment to Middle East

October 23, 2023 at 3:38 pm

A general view of naval weaponry on a Task Group 162 Chinese warship on July 4, 2023 [PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images]

Amid growing speculation that China has deployed six warships to the Middle East while Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza risks spiralling into a wider regional war, the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, has called for an end to “groundless hype” about the move.

The six warships, including a guided-missile destroyer, have been operating in the Middle East since last week as part of a joint exercise with the Royal Navy of Oman.

“The fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy set sail for an escort mission and is paying friendly visits to relevant countries,” Liu told Sputnik yesterday, stressing that, “The relevant parties should respect the facts and stop groundless hype.”

A report by Israel’s Ynet News yesterday notes that, “It is still unclear whether this task force is returning to China or staying in the region. The concerns that have arisen on social media since this morning appear to be excessive and reflect a heightened sensitivity in Israel.”

READ: Israel’s actions in Gaza ‘beyond scope of self-defence’

Meanwhile, Washington is deploying the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf amid an escalation of attacks on US forces in the region by Iranian-backed resistance groups in Iraq and Syria. Furthermore, the Houthi-led forces in Yemen claimed to have successfully targeted Israel, despite reports of their missiles being intercepted by a US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Carney.

The USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group is currently positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean as a deterrent to any third parties that might consider joining the conflict against Israel, according to the Pentagon. Washington is concerned primarily about Hezbollah.

The Lebanese resistance movement has been stepping up attacks against Israeli military positions across the border. It claims to have killed 40 Israeli occupation soldiers and destroyed 10 Merkava tanks and four troop carriers since 7 October, the day when Hamas-led Operation Al-Aqsa Flood was launched.

OPINION: Al-Aqsa Flood, dealing with the aftermath