China urges calm after Iran’s missile strike on Pakistan

China urges calm

BEIJING: China has called on Iran and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid further escalation of tensions after Tehran launched a missile attack on its neighbour, killing two children and injuring three others.

The strike, which Iran said was aimed at a militant group, was the third cross-border attack by the Islamic Republic in a week, following earlier strikes on Iraq and Syria.

The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mao Ning, said in a press briefing that Beijing was concerned about the situation and hoped that both sides would work to maintain peace and stability in the region. She said that China regarded Iran and Pakistan as major Islamic countries and close neighbours, as well as close partners and members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

“We urge Pakistan and Iran to refrain from actions that would lead to an escalation of tension and to cooperate to preserve peace and stability,” she said.

The missile strike, which occurred late on Tuesday, hit a village in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, near the border with Iran. Pakistan condemned the attack as an “unprovoked violation” of its airspace and sovereignty, and warned of “serious consequences”.

Pakistan said it was “even more concerning” that the attack took place despite the existence of several channels of communication between the two countries.

Iran claimed that the strike targeted the Jaish al-Adl militant group, which has carried out attacks inside Iran as well as on Pakistani government forces. The group is composed of ethnic Baloch Sunni Muslims, who have long complained of discrimination and oppression by the Iranian regime.

The attack came amid rising tensions in the Middle East, as the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza entered its fourth month, and the US and the UK carried out air strikes on Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been attacking commercial shipping in the Red Sea. Iran has also been accused of being behind a series of cyberattacks on Israeli infrastructure and institutions.

The spokesperson of the Pakistani Foreign Office said that that Pakistan had recalled its ambassador from Iran and asked the Iranian ambassador to not to return to Pakistan, and demanded an explanation and an assurance that such incidents would not be repeated.

Pakistan and Iran have had a complex and often strained relationship, marked by mutual suspicion and occasional clashes over security, trade, and regional issues. However, they have also maintained diplomatic ties and cooperated on some matters, such as the Afghan peace process and the fight against terrorism. Pakistan has also tried to balance its relations with Iran and its rival Saudi Arabia, both of which are key allies of China.

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