In what is a first for Chinese international aid efforts, Beijing has evacuated foreign citizens out of conflict-ridden Yemen.
On Thursday, 225 foreign nationals from 10 countries arrived in Djibouti onboard a Chinese frigate.
The frigate arrived in the Horn of Africa state, which hosts French and US military bases, after nearly eight hours at sea.
China has evacuated nationals from Ethiopia, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Britain, Canada, Pakistan and Yemen, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement. China has already evacuated more than 500 Chinese nationals out of Yemen on Tuesday.
“First of all, I’d like to thank the government of China, and also the navy of China, the crew of these vessels, for rescuing Ethiopians from Aden. Because Aden is very wild now, worsening from time to time, and it’s a very crucial time for us to rescue these people. On this visit we’ll have 29 Ethiopians who just arrived now with nationals from other countries,” Suleiman Dedefo, Ethiopian ambassador to Djibouti was quoted by China’s CNTV.
China is seeking to boost its humanitarian and diplomatic engagements on a level commensurate with its economic prowess.
A Chinese military official involved in the operation says it is the first time that a Chinese military vessel evacuated foreign nationals as part of the country’s international humanitarian aid efforts.
Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf also lauded China’s efforts.
“It is our duty and responsibility as a neighbouring country to help and assist the foreign nationals living in Yemen to be evacuated. This is firstly a humanitarian assistants, and China is doing very well. I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the government of China and the people of China, and also the naval forces of China, who have been very constructive, very helpful,” Youssouf said.
In a sign of China’s growing role in protecting international peace and stability, China’s PLA Navy has dispatched ships to participate in escort, evacuation, search and rescue, and disaster relief missions many times in recent years.
It has sent 19 naval escort squads to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters since 2008; a hospital ship was sent to the typhoon-hit Philippines for medical relief in 2013; warships were sent in 2014 to escort maritime transportation of Syrian chemical weapons; and navy vessels joined in the search operation of the missing Malaysian airliner MH370.
TBP and Agencies