BEIJING, June 26 China said on Thursday that it
was still trying to evacuate a small number of Chinese workers
from Iraq, and that it was closely coordinating with the Iraqi
government to ensure their safety.
The state-run Beijing Youth Daily, citing unidentified
sources, said that more than 1,000 workers for a Chinese
machinery company were trapped at a power station and that the
Iraqi army had turned some of them away as their bus approached
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said it
was not true that Iraq was not helping with evacuations, though
she declined to confirm or deny the report about the trapped
There are more than 10,000 Chinese workers in Iraq and the
"vast majority" are in safe areas, with only a small number in
more dangerous parts of the country, Hua told a daily news
"We are closely coordinating with the Iraqi side to provide
security guarantees for the evacuation of these people and
ensure that the relevant evacuations can go smoothly," she said.
"The coordination and communication between China's embassy
in Iraq and the Iraqi government and army is smooth. Our embassy
in Iraq is in close touch with the relevant Iraqi bodies to
ensure workers at Chinese companies can safety, smoothly and in
a timely way be evacuated to safe places," Hua added.
"Because of security considerations, our first consideration
is to ensure these people can be evacuated in a timely manner.
I'm sorry but I cannot give any other details."
PetroChina, the single biggest investor in Iraq's
oil sector, has said that it 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.
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.
China has repeatedly expressed concern 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.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Hui Li; Editing by Nick Macfie)