BEIJING, June 19 China said on Thursday it was
preparing to help evacuate a small number of people working for
Chinese companies in Iraq, and repeated an offer to help Iraq
fight terrorism though it declined to say if it would provide
The vast majority of the 10,000 workers are in safe parts of
the country, but the small number in unsafe parts are being
evacuated, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily
"For those workers in Chinese companies who are in areas
with a more serious security situation we will fully help them
evacuate to safe areas," Hua said, without giving numbers or
details of which companies they work for.
She said China's embassy in Iraq and embassies in
neighbouring countries were requesting help for entry and exit
formalities, though she would not elaborate on how many would
actually be leaving Iraq.
PetroChina, the single biggest investor in Iraq's
oil sector, is pulling some of its staff out of the country but
production was unaffected as militant Islamists threaten the
unity of OPEC's second-largest producer, a company official
China is Iraq's largest oil client, and its state energy
firms, which also include Sinopec Group and CNOOC Ltd,
together hold more than a fifth of Iraq's oil projects after
securing some of its fields through auctions in 2009.
Hua said China was deeply worried about the upsurge in
violence in Iraq and the march of the Islamic State of Iraq and
the Levant, which has seized much of the north of the country as
Baghdad's forces there collapsed.
"Terrorism is a shared threat faced by all countries and the
international community has a joint responsibility to combat it
and has a shared interest in maintaining Iraq's security and
stability and should provide help and support for Iraq's
rebuilding and fighting of terrorism," Hua said.
"China is willing to keep providing what aid it can in
accordance with Iraq's actual needs for its rebuilding and
fighting of terrorism," Hua added, declining comment on whether
Iraq had made any specific request for help.
"As for whether there will be military intervention, we
will, as we have always, provide what help we can in accordance
with our own situation and the principles we have always
upheld," she said, without elaborating.
China has long upheld the principle of non-interference in
the internal affairs of other countries and has not, in recent
decades, sent military forces to directly intervene in foreign
crises, though its military does participate in U.N. peace
keeping operations and anti-piracy patrols off Somalia.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)