THE US blasted China for ignoring sailors’ SOS calls in the Red Sea.
EPADespite UK and US strikes, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have continued to launch assaults on cargo ships in the Red Sea[/caption]
Carlos Del Toro, US Secretary of the Navy, today slammed the Chinese military for standing down in the Red SeaRex
GettyHe told The Sun that China has ‘moral responsibility’ to respond to distress calls from sailors under attack[/caption]
Del Toro said: “Chinese vessels have heard these calls for assistance and have done nothing.
“What that says about the morality of Chinese ships underway, I will leave for others to decipher.”
He said Iran-backed Houthi rebels were “favouring the passage of Chinese and Russian” vessels as they blast other cargo ships with cruise and ballistic missiles.
Beijing has reportedly pressured Iran to rein in its Houthi allies behind the attacks.
Speaking on a trip to London, Del Toro said: “Every country’s Navy has a moral responsibility to respond to the SOS calls of merchant mariners when they are being attacked, in this case attacked by the Houthis.
“It is a moral responsibility that is shared by all sailors who operate on the high seas.”
But he warned Beijing its economiy would suffer if the Red Sea crisis is not resolved.
And he urged President Xi Jinping to “think about the impact of doing nothing”.
He said: “China trades with the entire world and a threat to the free flow of goods is a threat to the Chinese economy.
“They have done nothing to protect sailors.
“They should think about the broader impact that will have on the Chinese economy.”
But US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, is expected to tell Beijing to do more when he meets China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi for two-days of talks starting in Thailand today.
Both the US and China have naval bases in Djbouti, a tiny country in the horn of Africa, which is the only place in the world to host the world’s two most powerful militaries.
It comes as the Iran-sponsored Houthis made an unexpected visit to Moscow on Thursday to discuss increasing “pressure” on the US and Israel to end the war in Gaza.
The rebel delegation met with Vladimir Putin’s cronies soon after they held alleged secret terror talks with al-Qaeda to plot intensified attacks against the West.
Spokesman Mohammed Abdel Salam said the talks were aimed at getting Russia to increase pressure on the US to “stop the aggression on the Gaza Strip and deliver humanitarian assistance there rather than militarise the Red Sea”.
During the rare meeting, Moscow “strongly condemned” the joint US and UK strikes against Houthi military bases across Yemen.
They blasted the aerial attacks as “capable of destabilising the situation on a regional scale”.
In turn, the Houthis reportedly raised concerns about the Western interventions in the Red Sea and called for closer coordination with Russia to address the situation.
It marks yet another dramatic escalation in the crisis that since November has been threatening to ignite an all-out war across the region, which has become a powder keg due to Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas.
Russia’s chilling meeting with the Houthis came soon after Yemeni reports that Houthi leaders allegedly held secret terror meetings with al-Qaeda to plot a wave of “suicide attacks” against the West.
At meetings held in both Yemen’s capital Sanaa as well as Hodeidah, the Houthi Red Sea port stronghold, the group reportedly tried to “persuade” their Islamist terrorist allies to join their fight in the Red Sea.
It was part of an apparent bid to convince them to carry out their “legitimate duty” to confront western “aggression” and stage further attacks, Sky News Arabia reported.
For over two years, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – which the US classes as the terror group’s most dangerous branch – has been clashing with government forces as its renewed insurgency inside Yemen grows.
The terror group, previously led by Osama Bin Laden and responsible for the 9/11 attacks, appears to now be taking advantage of the escalating crisis in Yemen and across the Red Sea to launch further attacks.
It follows months of indiscriminate maritime assaults by the Houthis, who control most of Yemen, on commercial vessels as well as US and UK navy warships in the Red Sea.
The rebels state their intention is to avenge Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas, but they are targeting ships with little or no link to Israel – turning one of the world’s biggest shipping lanes into an active warzone.
Around 12 percent of all global trade normally passes through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the now-under-attack 20 mile-wide stretch of Red Sea also known as the “Gate of Tears”.
In a fresh round of Houthi assaults on Wednesday evening, two cargo ships sailing close to the Gulf of Aden came under attack from anti-ship ballistic missiles and the US Navy was forced to intervene.
It appeared to be a direct response to US and UK forces once again targeting Houthi military bases across Yemen in a nighttime blitz on Monday.
Four RAF Typhoon jets unleashed laser-guided bombs to blast eight sites, while US warships, submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets took out other missile storage sites and launches.
It provoked a furious response from the trigger-happy rebels who vowed the attacks “would not go unpunished”.
Foreign Secretary David Cameron said this week’s strikes sent the “clearest possible message”.
He said: “Since we last took action 10 days ago, there have been over 12 attacks on shipping by the Houthis in the Red Sea. These attacks are illegal, they are unacceptable.
“What we have done again is send the clearest possible message that we will continue to degrade their ability to carry out these attacks while sending the clearest possible message that we back our words and our warnings with action.”
The exploding tensions have led to discussions for Britain’s biggest warship to be deployed to the Red Sea to help spearhead strikes on Houthi targets.
Calls are growing for the £3.5billion aircraft carriers, the HMS Queen Elizabeth and its sister HMS Prince of Wales, to enter the crisis and help protect Britain and its allies interests.
GettyUS National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will meet China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi today to tell Beijing to do more to simmer the Red Sea crisis[/caption]
Who are the Houthis?
THE Houthi rebels are terrorising the Red Sea by launching persistent missile and drone attacks on vessels and warships – but who are they?
The Shia militant group, which now controls most of Yemen, spent over a decade being largely ignored by the world.
However, since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war they sprung from relative obscurity to holding roughly £1trillion of world trade hostage – turning one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes into an active warzone.
Their warped slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory to Islam”.
Why are they attacking ships?
The rebel group has been launching relentless drone and missile attacks on any ships – including warships – they deem to be connected with Israel in solidarity with their ally, Hamas.
However, in reality there have been frequent attacks on commercial vessels with little or no link to Israel – forcing global sea traffic to halt operations in the region and sending shipping prices soaring.
The sea assaults have threatened to ignite a full-blown war in the Middle East as intense ripples from Israel’s war in Gaza are felt across the region – with Iran suspected of stoking the chaos.
Houthi attacks in the Red Sea increased 50 per cent between November and December as the rebel group’s chiefs pledged their assaults would continue until Israel stopped its offensive in Gaza.
And despite repeated threats from the West and joint US and UK strikes blitzing their strongholds in Yemen – Iran’s terror proxy appears undeterred.
The militia group has disrupted £1trillion of world trade and sent global shipping prices soaringLeave a comment