China temporarily shuts embassy in Yemen

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China has temporarily closed its embassy and consulate general in Yemen because of worsening security there, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday.

Two Chinese navy ships have evacuated 613 Chinese citizens and 279 foreigners from the county, the ministry also said, marking the first time that China's military has helped other countries evacuate their people during an international crisis.

"Due to worsening security situations in Yemen, China temporarily closed its embassy and also the consulate general in Aden," the ministry said.

Violence has been spreading across Yemen since last year, when Iran-backed Shi'ite Houthi fighters seized the capital, Sanaa, and effectively removed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition has hit the rebels with air strikes over the past week.

Once-reclusive China has become increasingly active in disaster relief and humanitarian aid abroad as its global economic interests widen.

A low-key diplomatic player in the Middle East despite its reliance on oil from the region, China has voiced concern at the surge in violence in Yemen and called for a political solution.

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