Blinken asks China to use its influence to dissuade Iran from striking Israel

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron (not pictured) at the State Department in Washington, on April 9, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron (not pictured) at the State Department in Washington, on April 9, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked Beijing to use its influence to dissuade Iran from striking Israel, during a call with his Chinese counterpart, according to the US State Department.

Concerns regarding possible retaliation by Tehran have increased following an April 1 airstrike on an Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed several Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, including two generals.

Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, urged the US to take “a constructive role” in the Middle East during the call with Blinken, according to the US statement.

A Chinese statement after the call says Wang also “expressed China’s strong condemnation of the attack” while emphasizing the “inviolable” right to security of diplomatic institutions and the need to respect the sovereignty of Iran and Syria.

Israel has not taken responsibility for the strike, but has cited intelligence that the buildings targeted were military sites used by the IRGC, a US-designated terror group.

“China will continue to play a constructive role in the resolution of the Middle East issue… and contribute to cooling down the situation,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning adds.

“The United States side in particular should play a constructive role.”

The United States has repeatedly made public appeals for China to do more to address the crisis, including through pressure on Iran, which supports Hamas.

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