Sunday, March 29, 2015

Yemen Evacuation with FFG547 Linyi

For those who continue to question China's need for a navy, here is one justification.

Chinese navy evacuates Chinese nationals from war-torn Yemen
PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 March, 2015, 3:32am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 March, 2015, 3:32am

China had started evacuating its 590 citizens from war-torn Yemen, Foreign Minister Wang Yi confirmed yesterday, as Arab leaders vowed to continue Saudi-led air strikes against Shiite rebels.

"We have about 500 compatriots in Yemen, and we are concerned about every one of them," China National Radio quoted Wang as saying on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province.

"They will soon be on their way home safe and sound."

A port official and witnesses told Reuters that a Chinese warship had docked in the embattled Yemeni port city of Aden yesterday to evacuate Chinese diplomats and expatriate workers.

There were 590 Chinese nationals in Yemen, CNR reported, citing ambassador Tian Qi.

Wang said the foreign ministry activated its emergency response system on Thursday night when the air strikes started.

On Friday, China's naval escort mission in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia was abruptly suspended. The China Shipowners' Association, which announced the suspension, said it did not know when it would resume.

The mission's fleet comprises two guided-missile frigates - the Linyi and the Weifang - and the supply ship Weishanhu. Dozens of special forces soldiers are among the 700 or so crew, according to China News Service.

In 2011, more than 35,000 Chinese were evacuated from Libya during its civil war. Last summer, more than 1,000 Chinese nationals were withdrawn after new conflicts broke out.

India yesterday said it was preparing to fly out about 4,100 stranded citizens from Yemen. Pakistan said it had sent a jumbo jet and a naval frigate to evacuate its citizens and diplomatic staff.

More than 200 staff from the UN, embassies and other organisations were evacuated by air on Saturday, aid workers said.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Associated Press

Saturday, February 26, 2011

CDF OpEd: China's Evacuation from Libya

By Mr. Unknown.

China’s ongoing evacuation of its citizens from a chaotic Libya is starting to draw close scrutiny from pundits due to the PLAN’s use of a 054A class Frigate (Xuzhou, FFG-530) amongst other civilian means of evacuation. Unsurprisingly, we can leave it to some media outlets to exaggerate this action into nothing less than old school imperialist “gunboat diplomacy.”

A not-so-subtle proclamation of China’s “menacing” display of naval power came from the Council on Foreign Relation’s (CFR) Elliot Abrams, who wrote the following on the CFR blog, (here)

          “In recent days, the White House has been saying that the United States had to watch its words and actions  because American citizens were at risk in Libya.  So instead of acting, we are building a diplomatic coalition. China has taken a different tack: to use power.  Instead of biting their tongue, the Chinese appear to be making it clear to the Qadhafi regime that no danger to Chinese workers will be tolerated.

An even more provocative article titled “China Fills Libya Power Void” appeared on the website of Investor’s Business Daily, which compared China’s supposed “assertiveness” to “US inaction,”

          “Up until now, the conventional thinking from the Tom Friedman crowd claims that China is somehow engaged in a new model of commercial engagement abroad, quite unlike the old empires of the past that projected military power. That theory is out the window now with this naval action. China will defend its own, same as any other empire.

The IBD article (here) went on to argue that:

          “China's assertiveness in the Libyan crisis stands in contrast to that of the U.S. By the time we found a vessel to ferry a mere 600 nationals out of the country, the Chinese had already transported 12,000 of its people to Crete… China is setting a precedent with its newfound show of force.”

Instead of “praising” China’s “new-found assertiveness,” perhaps the authors should have asked why the PLAN was able to sail into Libya with impunity?  And why neither the rebels nor the Libyan government questioned whether China has ulterior motives other than ferrying its citizens away from the cross-fire?  The correct answer is NOT China’s determined “show of force” or “power projection,” but its record of restrained and infrequent use of force, coupled with its consistent policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.  Having built up its “street-cred” in Africa as a non-intrusive business partner, China provoked no suspicions from either side of the Libyan upheaval on the rare occasion that it used military assets as part of the evacuation.

The authors of the aforementioned articles have drawn precisely the opposite conclusion that should have been reached.  China’s relatively smooth evacuation vis-a-vis US awkwardness represents NOT the need for aggressive intervention, but rather the power of restraint surmounting that of forceful coercion.

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