This was one of the subjects at a Jan. 26-27 meeting in Thailand between U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi. The meeting spanned 12 hours over two days and covered many topics. It was part of an attempt to restart diplomatic relations between the two countries following the Nov. 15, 2023 meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in San Francisco, from which a follow-on phone call is now expected sometime in the spring.
The U.S.’s inability to curtail the Yemeni Houthis’ attacks on certain commercial ships in the Red Sea, despite launching numerous volleys of missiles at Houthi targets and attempting to build a wider coalition, has become an embarrassing scenario for the U.S. Seeking to deflect attention from this, American officials are now attempting to rope China into the narrative and blame it for its unwillingness to “play a constructive role.”
During a press briefing on Jan. 27 following the Wang-Sullivan meeting, an anonymous senior White House official reported that Sullivan had “raised the importance of Beijing using its substantial leverage with Iran to call for an end and bring an end to these dangerous attacks … this is not the first time we’ve called on China to play a constructive role.”
The official intoned that, because China is a large trading partner of Iran, and Iran is supposedly the reason for the Houthis attacking Israel-friendly commercial ships in the Red Sea (and not, of course, Israel’s genocide against Gaza…) that China has “leverage over Iran to some extent. How they choose to use that, of course, is China’s choice.… I think there should be a clear interest in China in terms of quiet[ing] some of those attacks. But whether it chooses to use that leverage in that way, I think that remains to be seen.”