China says it will play ‘constructive role’ to ease tensions after reported strike on Iran

China says it will “continue to play a constructive role to de-escalate” tensions in the Middle East after Iranian media reported explosions heard near the city of Isfahan and US media quoted officials saying Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes for Tehran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend.

“China opposes any actions that further escalate tensions and will continue to play a constructive role to de-escalate the situation,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian says.

China is a close partner of Iran, its largest trade partner, and a top buyer of its sanctioned oil.

The United States has repeatedly made public appeals for China to use its influence over Tehran to manage tensions in the region, which are currently turbocharged over the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Beijing’s top diplomat Wang Yi holds talks with his Iranian counterpart this week, with state media reporting that Tehran had said it was “willing to exercise restraint” after its first-ever attack on Israel’s territory.

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