China urges caution after U.S. blames Iran for Saudi attack

BEIJING, Sept 16 (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday it was irresponsible to blame anyone for an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities without conclusive facts, striking a cautious note after the United States blamed Iran.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was no evidence the attack came from Yemen.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday the United States was "locked and loaded" for a potential response to the attack.

A senior U.S. official told reporters that evidence from the attack, which hit the world's biggest oil-processing facility, indicated Iran was behind it. Iran has denied this.

10 PHOTOS
Saudi Arabia's oil facilities attacked
See Gallery
Saudi Arabia's oil facilities attacked
FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 file photo, made from a video broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news channel, smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility fills the skyline, in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. The weekend drone attack on one of the world’s largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco’s stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner -- the Saudi government and its ruling family. (Al-Arabiya via AP, File)
In this image made from a video broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news channel on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, a Saudi police cruiser sits in a parking lot as the smoke from a fire at the Abqaiq oil processing facility can be seen behind it in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Drones launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and another major oilfield Saturday, sparking huge fires at a vulnerable chokepoint for global energy supplies. (Al-Arabiya via AP) TV OUT NO SALES
Storage tanks are seen at the North Jiddah bulk plant, an Aramco oil facility, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. The weekend drone attack in Buqyaq on one of the world's largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco's stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner -- the Saudi government and its ruling family. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. The drone attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom's crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world's daily supply. (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP)
This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows damage to the infrastructure at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. The drone attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom's crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world's daily supply. (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP)
This image provided on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, by the U.S. government and DigitalGlobe and annotated by the source, shows a pre-strike overview at Saudi Aramco's Abaqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. The drone attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom's crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world's daily supply. (U.S. government/Digital Globe via AP)
This Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 false-color image from the European Commission's Sentinel-2 satellite shows Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed to have launched drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil. Black char marks at the center of the facility suggest the attack struck at the heart of the processing facility (European Commission via AP)
This Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 false-color image from the European Commission's Sentinel-2 satellite shows Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed to have launched drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil. Black char marks at the center of the facility suggest the attack struck at the heart of the processing facility (European Commission via AP)
This Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 false-color image from the European Commission's Sentinel-2 satellite shows Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed to have launched drone attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world's largest exporter of oil. Black char marks at the center of the facility suggest the attack struck at the heart of the processing facility (European Commission via AP)
A currency trader walks by the screens showing the foreign exchange rates at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. Asian stock markets were mixed Monday after crude prices surged following an attack on Saudi Arabia's biggest oil processing facility. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying appealed for calm and restrain.

"Pondering who is to blame in the absence of a conclusive investigation I think is in itself not very responsible. China's position is that we oppose any moves that expand or intensify conflict," Hua told a daily news briefing.

"We call on relevant parties avoid taking actions that bring about an escalation in regional tensions. We hope all sides can restrain themselves and can jointly safeguard the peace and stability of the Middle East."

China has close economic, diplomatic and energy relations with both Riyadh and Tehran and has long had to tread carefully in its ties with both. Saudi Arabia is China's top oil supplier year to date.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman visited Beijing in 2017, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman came to China earlier this year.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, in Beijing late last month.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.