Egypt, China stress priority of safety, security of Red Sea

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Egypt and China are closely following developments in the Red Sea, focusing on the priority of ensuring the safety and security of navigation, the two countries said in a joint statement on Sunday.

Both expressed concern over the expansion of the conflict in the region, emphasizing the importance of efforts to stop attacks on Gaza, the statement added.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, speaking at a press conference in Cairo after a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, called for an end to the attacks on civilian vessels in the Red Sea, though he did not mention the Iran-backed Houthi militia responsible for those attacks.

“The situation in the Red Sea has escalated sharply recently, and China is deeply concerned about this,” Wang said.

“China calls for a halt to the harassment and attacks on civilian ships and for the maintenance of the smooth flow of global industrial and supply chains and the international trade order.”

In a veiled criticism of the US and British air strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen, Wang noted that the United Nations Security Council did not authorise such action.

“The adding of fuel to the fire of tensions in the Red Sea should be avoided and an increase in the overall security risk of the region should be prevented,” Wang said, without naming the United States and Britain.

Wang added that while it was necessary for all parties to jointly maintain the safety of the Red Sea waterways in the accordance with the law, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries on both sides of the Red Sea, including Yemen, must be respected.