Persian Gulf instability could threaten China’s oil tankers

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BEIJING – China is considering a US proposal to escort merchant ships in the Persian Gulf, according to the Chinese embassy in the United Arab Emirates.

“In the case of an extremely precarious situation, we will consider the issue of groups of military ships escorting our merchant vessels,” Chinese Ambassador to the UAE Ni Jian said, according to Reuters.

The US is exerting strong pressure to set up an international maritime coalition to ensure safe navigation in the Persian Gulf, which was threatened by Iran. However, so far only the United Kingdom, a loyal US ally, has accepted the northern suggestion. -American.

Probably, Beijing received such a proposal from Washington, as Asians have ties to Iran in the area of ​​energy, but also import oil from Iran’s main rival, Saudi Arabia.

US President Donald Trump recently commented that China, Japan and other countries must protect their own ships in the Persian Gulf region, where the US Navy Fifth Fleet is located.

According to political scientist Oleg Matveychev, a professor at Russia’s School of Economics, China could take advantage of the US offer to escort its merchant ships.

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“The talk of threats to ships in the Persian Gulf is completely artificial. It was set up by Trump and Israel to increase pressure on Iran, to talk again about sanctions, to renegotiate the nuclear deal under other conditions, introducing other restrictions on Iran, which they have been pushing economically and politically for many years. To do so, they resort to provocations and make all sorts of statements that it is dangerous in the Persian Gulf that something has been captured there,” said the political scientist.

China can really accept the US offer, consider the matter, and decide to send military ships to the region, which would demonstrate China’s strength and ability to maintain a presence in different regions while helping Iran.

Chen Xiaoqin, professor at the Renmin University of China School of International Studies, says “the Persian Gulf is an unstable region where local conflicts often arise, especially when there are contradictions between the US and Iran […].”

In addition, the professor tells Sputnik International that the Asian country needs to ensure the safe navigation of its vessels, as it imports oil from the Middle East and this may pose risks sooner or later.

“[…] We have to escort Chinese ships and ensure their safety within our capabilities. A security guarantee is a guarantee of commercial gain […],” says the professor.

However, the oil problem also affects China’s political, military and strategic interests, he points out.

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