BEIJING - China's foreign ministry said on Thursday it was deeply concerned about the worsening situation in Yemen, after Saudi Arabia announced it had launched military operations in that country with Gulf region allies.
Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that China urges all parties to act in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions on Yemen, and to resolve the dispute through dialogue.
Hua told a news conference that China hopes all parties involved will "quickly resolve the dispute through political dialogue, solve the current crisis and restore domestic stability and normality to Yemen at an early date." She said that all Chinese people and institutions in Yemen were safe, adding that the foreign ministry and the Chinese embassy in Yemen had warned its citizens not to visit Yemen.
Yemen exports about 1.4-1.5 million barrels of Masila crude each month, mainly to China, but a Chinese trade source said that volume was relatively small and could easily be replaced with West African crude.
China's crude imports from Yemen in the first two months this year were 4.5 million bbls, up 315 per cent from the same period a year ago.
China has traditionally kept a low profile in Middle East diplomacy despite its reliance on oil imports from the region, although it is keen to demonstrate its role as a force in international politics.