China Tells U.S. to ‘Remain Calm’ After Soleimani Strike, Fails to Mention Iran

Chinas Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang listens to a question during a briefing in Beijing on November 28, 2019. - China's foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador on November 28, urging Washington to refrain from applying a bill supporting Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement to "avoid further damage" to …
WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images

The Communist Party of China chided America on Friday for the elimination of Iranian terror chief Qasem Soleimani via airstrike, urging the United States to “remain calm” and respect “Iraq’s sovereignty,” but not mentioning Iran at all.

Iran is nominally an ally of China’s. China supports the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal President Barack Obama and several other guarantor countries signed with Iran that resulted in Tehran generating billions in funding later used in colonialist enterprises. While China has supported Iran financially, as well, violating sanctions to buy Iranian oil, Beijing has mildly discouraged Iran from getting too powerful in the Middle East and becoming a rival.

Asked to respond to Soleimani’s death, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “We oppose the use of force in international relations and believe that all sides should earnestly abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations.”

“Iraq’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be respected, and peace and stability of the Gulf Region in the Middle East must be upheld,” Geng added. “We urge the relevant parties, the US side in particular, to remain calm and restrained and avoid further escalating the tensions.”

Geng responded to two other questions, asking for a clearer comment regarding Iran’s threats against the United State,s repeating himself nearly verbatim. Asked if China considered the airstrike against Soleimani in Iraq legal, Geng replied, “We oppose the wanton use of force or threat of use of force in international relations and believe that all sides should follow the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations to handle their relations and resolve differences.”

Geng did not mention Soleimani or Iran at all in his remarks, according to the transcript of the press conference published in English by the Chinese Communist Party.

Global Times, a Chinese government propaganda outlet, published a column Friday declaring that the strike against Soleimani proved “U.S. Middle East policy is a failure.” The newspaper complained that America was “too powerful,” and believes “the use of force is the best choice. But the use of force can only lead to death.”

Despite being a nominal ally of Iran’s, neither the foreign ministry nor the Global Times offered on behalf of China condolences for Soleimani’s death or anything resembling praise. While the foreign ministry did not address Soleimani at all, the Times referred to him as an “important Iranian official,” without qualifying otherwise.

“Washington has underestimated the serious political consequences of killing Soleimani,” the Times predicted. “The warning of ‘a harsh retaliation’ by [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei is more than just a threat, but represents the sentiment and voice of Shia society in the Middle East. Even if the Iranian government doesn’t retaliate, how about some regional forces?”

The newspaper concluded that taking Soleimani off the battlefield “will cause much more anger and hostility than fear against the US in Iran and areas that support Iran.”

The Pentagon confirmed Friday that Soleimani and the founder of the Hezbollah Brigades Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis died after being struck at an airport in Iraq. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump both later stated that Soleimani was responsible for organizing the assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad last weekend and was planning “imminent” attacks against Americans.

Soleimani was the head of the Quds Force, a special terrorist force operating outside of Iranian borders to expand the regime’s influence and power. He was a pivotal actor in helping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad remain in power, spending months in Syria helping crush rebel groups. American authorities believed Soleimani responsible for all international decisions on the part of the regime, including the exponential expansion of Iranian “cultural centers” used to recruit Hezbollah terrorists in Latin America. Iran and Hezbollah have deepened their influence in Latin America through an alliance with the socialist regime in Venezuela.

President Donald Trump called Soleimani “the number one terrorist anywhere in the world” and said on Friday that the strike that killed him would “stop a war,” taking out Iran’s top strategic killing mind.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.