Over 500 Chinese escape from Yemen

By Liu Xin and Guo Yuandan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-31 1:13:01

Guided-missile frigates to help evacuate nationals

More than 500 Chinese nationals have left the conflict-ridden Yemen by Monday, after China sent guided-missile frigates to help with the evacuation.

Four hundred and forty-nine Chinese nationals left the Yemeni coastal city of Al-Hodayda on Monday and six people of other nationalities were also on board of a Chinese navy frigate.

A total of 122 Chinese nationals and an Egyptian and a Romanian employee from Chinese enterprises in Yemen have been evacuated to the Republic of Djibouti, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a Monday briefing.

The Chinese Embassy in Sana'a remains open and will continue to assist a small number of Chinese nationals who choose to stay in Yemen.

Tian Qi, Chinese ambassador to Yemen, previously revealed that there are about 590 Chinese nationals in Yemen.

Chinese nationals in Yemen includes embassy personnel, overseas students, medical workers, journalists and technicians from Chinese companies involved in oil exploration, communication and other industries, the China News Service reported.

Meantime, China confirmed that a naval fleet has been sent to conflict-stricken Yemen to help evacuate Chinese nationals, the Ministry of National Defense announced on Monday.

 The 19th Chinese naval escort taskforce is made up of the guided missile frigates Linyi and Weifang and supply ship Weishanhu with 2 ship-borne helicopters.

It is believed to be the second time the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy participated in an evacuation mission overseas.  It's the first time a Chinese fleet will arrive at a foreign port for evacuation.

According to the defense ministry, the PLA Navy fleet, which was on escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters, was dispatched for the evacuation on Sunday.

In 2011, the fleet was sent to help evacuate Chinese nationals from Libya.

"The PLA has the confidence and capability to safely escort our compatriots home," an official of the Defense Ministry told the Global Times on Monday. The official refused to release more details on the evacuation.

As Yemen's political unrest and clashes between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi - who has fled the country - continues, more countries began evacuating their nationals.

On Monday, India sent its first plane to evacuate Indians in Yemen, despite the bombing of the country's main international airport. The United Nations also pulled its international staff out.

A Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes on Houthi positions in Yemen on Thursday, urging the Houthi fighters to withdraw from government buildings and hand over their arms to legitimate authorities.

Xinhua contributed to the story

Posted in: Diplomacy

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