Biden Admin Asks China To Discourage Iran From Attacking Israel — Which Could Be Just Days Away: REPORT

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jake Smith Contributor
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The Biden administration asked China on Thursday to urge Iran against launching retaliatory strikes against Israel — an attack that U.S. officials say could be imminent, according to multiple reports.

Israel launched airstrikes against high-level Iranian military operatives at a diplomatic consulate in Syria on Apr. 1, prompting Iran to vow retaliatory attacks, which the U.S. sees as potentially coming within days, a U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a phone call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and asked Beijing to deter Iran from launching an attack against Israel, but Wang instead expressed that China “strongly condemns” Israel’s strikes and urged the U.S. to play a “constructive role” in the Middle East, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday. (RELATED: Hamas Admits It May Not Have Enough Living Hostages For Ceasefire Deal With Israel)

“Secretary Blinken has been engaged in diplomacy over the past 24 hours through a series of calls to foreign counterparts, including… Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi… to make clear that escalation is not in anyone’s interest, and that countries should urge Iran not to escalate,” the State Department said on Thursday.

Israel is gearing up for a direct attack from Iran, which U.S. intelligence indicates could occur directly on Israeli soil, according to the WSJ. The U.S. Embassy in Israel restricted travel for all staff until told otherwise amid the threat of an Iranian attack, the first time the U.S. has imposed such a restriction since Hamas, which itself is backed by Iran, attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and killed roughly 1,200 people.

On the Israeli airstrike, Wang “stressed [to Blinken] the inviolability of the security of diplomatic missions and that Iran and Syria’s sovereignty must be respected,” China’s foreign ministry said. He also repeated Beijing’s call for an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on as US President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, not pictured, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ week in Woodside, California on November 15, 2023. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“The pressing need now is to bring an end to the conflict as soon as possible,” China’s foreign ministry said of Wang and Blinken’s phone call. “China will continue to view the issue based on its merits, play a constructive role in resolving the Middle East issue and help de-escalate the situation. The U.S. in particular needs to play a constructive role.”

The Biden administration has had similar discussions with Beijing officials since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. The U.S. asked China in January to pressure Iran into curbing the Houthis‘ — another Iranian terror proxy — attacks against U.S. and commercial vessels in the Red Sea, which appeared to fall on deaf ears, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Biden administration asked Beijing to join a U.S.-led coalition naval force in the Red Sea to deter the Houthi attacks, but Beijing has yet to accept the invitation, even though it maintains naval forces in the neighboring Djibouti region, according to SCMP.

China has a relationship with several Western adversaries, including Iran, and the U.S. views Beijing as a global power that could “influence regional rivalries, in the Middle East, Jean-Loup Samaan, a senior research fellow of the Middle East Institute, told SCMP. Beijing has refrained from explicitly condemning Hamas’ attack against Israel on Oct. 7, instead maintaining neutrality and calling for both sides to cease conflict.

China and Iran have not had a diplomatic exchange since Israel struck IRGC targets in Syria on Apr. 1, according to SCMP.

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