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US Frustration at Chinese ‘Inaction’ Over Red Sea Attacks

Washington is said to be irritated that Beijing has failed to pressure Iran to help halt the Houthi attacks which have disrupted world trade

The Galaxy Leader cargo ship is escorted by Houthi boats in the Red Sea
The Galaxy Leader cargo ship is escorted by Houthi boats in the Red Sea in this photo released November 20, 2023 (Houthi Military Media via Reuters).


The United States has urged China to pressure Tehran to rein in the Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea.

The US has repeatedly raised the matter with top Chinese officials in the past three months, the Financial Times reported, but has seen little sign of help from Beijing, US officials have complained.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and his deputy, Jon Finer, discussed the issue in meetings this month in Washington with Liu Jianchao, head of the International Liaison Department of China’s Communist Party, the newspaper said.


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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also raised the issue with his Chinese counterpart, the report said, adding US officials believe there was little evidence that China had put any pressure on Iran to restrain the Houthis beyond a mild statement Beijing issued last week.

Earlier on Wednesday, the US military carried out strikes in Yemen, destroying two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed at the Red Sea and were preparing to launch.

On Monday, US and British forces carried out a round of strikes in Yemen, targeting a Houthi underground storage site as well as missile and surveillance capabilities used by the Iran-aligned group against Red Sea shipping.

The Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping and stoked fears of global inflation. They have also deepened concern that fallout from the Israel-Hamas war could destabilise the Middle East.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Shipping Firm to Use Saudi Land Routes to Avoid Red Sea Threat

Red Sea Attacks Spur a Surge in Asia-to-Europe Air Freight

Panama Canal Traffic Cut by Third, Adds to Red Sea Woes – AP

Chinese Exporters Face Shipping Crisis From Red Sea Attacks

Red Sea Shipping Disruption May Last ‘at Least a Few Months’



Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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