Stay calm, the Chinese aren't storming Israel's beaches just yet

Analysis: Despite reports in various international media outlets, which suggest that China's naval forces have been deployed to the Middle East in light of the war in Israel, there is no basis for the concerns that have emerged

Ron Ben-Yishai|
There is currently no substantial basis for concerns that the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy has recently become involved in the Israel-Hamas war. These apprehensions appear to have emerged from various news outlets such as SCMP and Daily Express US. According to their reports, China deployed naval forces in the Middle East in light of the events unfolding since Hamas's October 7 attack.
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Security experts and analysts in the private sector argue that China's military forces, whether maritime or otherwise, are unlikely to engage in the ongoing war. This remains true even if the war were to escalate to the north and encompass not only Hezbollah but also other radical Shiite elements, including Iran.
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סין דיווח ב טלוויזיה על פעילות חיל הים הסיני על רקע המשבר בטייוואן
סין דיווח ב טלוויזיה על פעילות חיל הים הסיני על רקע המשבר בטייוואן
Archival: Chinese naval force
(Photo: EPA)
This assessment is founded on several aspects. First, there are currently two small Chinese task forces operating in the region: one in the Indian Ocean, south of Iran, and the other off the coast of Somalia in Africa. Both units are relatively modest in size and possess significantly limited firepower, particularly when compared to American task forces in the region.
Furthermore, both of these task forces arrived at their respective positions before or shortly after the October 7 attack. Their primary mission is to safeguard merchant vessels from Somali pirates operating south of the Bab-el-Mandeb, between Yemen and Africa. Their secondary mission is predominantly political, diplomatic and economic, focusing on strengthening relations with regional states as part of China's strategy.
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מפגש בין נשיא סין שי ג'ינפינג ל מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב אנתוני בלינקן בביקור ב בייג'ינג
מפגש בין נשיא סין שי ג'ינפינג ל מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב אנתוני בלינקן בביקור ב בייג'ינג
Chinese President Xi Jinping
(Photo: AFP)
One of these task forces, specifically the 44th Task Force of the People's Liberation Army Navy, recently engaged in trade with Oman's naval forces, made purchases in the city of Muscat and participated in a basketball game with the local navy team. It is still unclear whether this task force is returning to China or staying in the region.
Thirdly, the Chinese government, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, much like his predecessors, consistently refrains from direct involvement in conflicts that do not directly relate to China's national interests and significant economic interests. In light of these factors, the concerns that have arisen on social media since this morning appear to be excessive and reflect a heightened sensitivity in Israel.
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