Chinese fleet heads to Red Sea amid rising tensions


China has dispatched a fleet to the Red Sea amid the rising tensions provoked by the Iran-backed Houthi militias’ attacks on vessels in the region, according to Xinhua News Agency and numerous other agencies. 

The 46th fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy sailed for the region on the 21st of February, departing from a military port in the coastal city of Zhanjiang in south China’s Guandong Province. 

The deployment aimed to take over an escort mission from the 45th naval fleet, which was deployed in October 2023, as part of China’s ongoing efforts to secure the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia.

The 46th fleet’s naval mission includes the guided-missile destroyer Jiaozuo, the missile frigate Xuchang and the comprehensive replenishment vessel Honghu. It has over 700 officers on board including dozens of special forces personnel, and two helicopters.  

The fleet conducted meticulous analysis and carried out targeted training scenarios in preparation for the mission. The scenarios included the combating of terrorists and pirates, the rescue of hijacked commercial ships and their underway replenishment. 

READ: EU launches Red Sea naval mission 

Since November, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters in response to the Israel-Hamas war.

Despite a month of US-led air strikes, the Houthis remain capable of launching significant attacks. A consequence of this is that a key trade-shipping route for Asia, the Middle East and Europe is at risk.

READ: Egypt: Houthi attacks cut Suez revenues by 40%  

Meanwhile, The US military conducted strikes on the 22nd and 23rd of February. The Central Command stated that it had destroyed Houthi drones and anti-ship cruise missiles in Yemen and the Red Sea, after determining they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships, reports VOA News.

The strikes shot down three Houthi one-way attack drones near commercial ships operating in the Red Sea. 

The military’s central command said it had also hit four drones and two cruise missiles that were prepared to launch from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Red Sea. It also added that there was no damage to any ships. 

Xinhua News Agency and agencies. 


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