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China urges caution as UNSC adopts resolution on Red Sea tensions


Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, on Wednesday stressed that countries should not misinterpret and abuse the relevant provisions of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution to create new tensions in the waters of the Red Sea.

Zhang made the remarks while making an explanatory statement after abstaining from voting on a council's resolution on recent Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

The UNSC on Wednesday passed the Resolution 2722 condemning the attacks by the Houthi militia on merchant and commercial vessels in the Red Sea. It was adopted with 11 votes in favor, none against and four abstentions, namely by Algeria, China, Mozambique and Russia. 

Zhang said that ensuring unimpeded access to the waterway and the safety of passing vessels contributes not only to the security and stability of the region, but also to global supply chain security and the maintenance of the international trade order.

China is open for the UNSC to take any further action that may be required to safeguard the right of all countries' merchant ships to navigate in the waters of the Red Sea in accordance with the international law, he said.

Zhang added China has participated constructively in the consultations and, together with Russia, Algeria and others, has proposed amendments on relevant issues.

While recognizing the penholders' efforts to improve the draft resolution based on changes proposed by other UNSC members, Zhang noted that certain revisions were not incorporated. 

As a result, the text remains ambiguous on several key issues, the Chinese envoy said and expressed concern that it might not achieve its intended effect or might even lead to negative consequences and further escalate regional tensions. 

Stating that his delegation, therefore, had to abstain, Zhang called on the Houthis to abide by the resolution and on relevant parties to play a constructive role to ease tensions in the Red Sea.

Zhang also drew a connection between the situation in the Red Sea and the ongoing conflict in Gaza, saying the current tensions in the Red Sea are one of the manifestations of the spillover effects of the conflict in Gaza.

China has repeatedly emphasized that an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is a matter of urgency, an overriding prerequisite and a top priority for international diplomatic efforts, the envoy said.

"We regret that the resolution just adopted by the Security Council fails to explicitly call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza," Zhang told the council.

He voiced China's commitment to working with the UNSC and the international community to make unremitting efforts to promote a ceasefire and cessation of fighting in Gaza, a cooling of tensions in the Red Sea, a political settlement of the Yemeni issue and the realization of peace and stability in the Middle East.

(Cover: File photo of Chinese permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun. /CFP)

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