Six Chinese ships operated in the Middle East last week, according to announcements from the Chinese Ministry of Defense. The appearance of exceptionally large Chinese naval forces occurred after the attack by Hamas terrorists on Israel and a sharp increase in tension in the region. Earlier, for this reason, the US sent two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Middle East.
The presence of exceptionally large Chinese naval forces in the Middle East results from announcements published by the Chinese Ministry of Defense. Back in May on Near East China’s 44th Escort Task Group, consisting of the Zibo Type 052D guided-missile destroyer, the Jingzhou Type 054A frigate and the Qiandaohu supply ship, was dispatched on a routine mission.
The task of this group was officially to ensure the safety of maritime shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden separating Africa from the Arabian Peninsula. China They regularly send their ships to this region because it is one of the most important sea transport routes, connecting Asia with North Africa and Europe via the Suez Canal. In recent years, there have been pirate attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden.
Chinese ships in the Middle East
On October 2, the 44th Group transferred its tasks as planned to the 45th Escort Task Force, consisting of the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Urumchi, the Type 054A frigate Linyi, and the supply ship Dongpinghu. As noted by the Chinese news agency Xinhua, the 45th Group consists only of recently commissioned units – the oldest of them is only five years old.
However, according to the Ministry of Defense’s announcements, the 44th Ship Group, despite completing its tasks, did not return to China. Instead, on October 10, these ships reached the capital of Oman – Muscat, where they participated, among others. in joint naval exercises. Then, on October 18-22, they visited about a thousand kilometers further north in the port of Kuwait. It is not known what the future plans of the 44th Escort Task Group are – the Chinese ministry usually informs about the activities of its ships with a delay of several days.
Hamas attack on Israel
As Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post notes, the presence of two groups of Chinese ships at the same time means that at least six Chinese vessels “operated in Middle Eastern waters as tensions rise in the region.” In fact, there may be more of these ships, because China is very sparing in reporting on the activities of its armed forces.
On October 7, Hamas terrorists entered Israel and killed over 1,400 people. people. Following this attack, Israel began shelling the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas, killing, according to the region’s authorities, over 4,600 people. people and announcing a land military operation in the Palestinian enclave. In response to these events, they were sent to the Middle East earlier two American aircraft carrier strike groups.
Chinese evacuation from the Middle East?
Sending Chinese ships to the Middle East does not mean that their direct involvement in the Middle East conflict is planned. In the past, the Chinese navy organized operations to evacuate people from conflict-affected areas. In 2015, Chinese ships participated in the evacuation of several hundred people from… Yemenwhile in May this year, a type 052D destroyer and a supply ship evacuated over a thousand people from Sudan, which saw a military coup d’état. Meanwhile, as Chinese media reminds, China has not yet organized an evacuation of its citizens after the Hamas attack on Israel.
SEE ALSO: Evacuation of Poles from Israel
Ministry of Defense of China, South China Morning Post, tvn24.pl
Main photo source: JEROME FAVRE/EPA/PAP