BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday that China pays close attention to the situation in Iraq and hopes the country will restore safety, stability and normal order as soon as possible.
Hua made the remarks at a routine press briefing when asked about whether China has a plan to send an envoy or delegation to Baghdad to learn more about the situation.
The situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate since clashes between insurgent groups and government forces began earlier this month.
Large swathes of Iraq's northern territories are now in the hands of militant groups, fuelling fears the country may split and a full-blown sectarian war erupt in the Middle East.
China and Iraq have maintained sound cooperation and friendly relationship, said Hua, noting that China supports the efforts of the Iraqi government in safeguarding domestic security and stability.
Hua said China pays great attention to the security and lawful rights of Chinese citizens and enterprises in Iraq.
With regard to the tense situation, Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Iraq have released security alerts and suggested Chinese citizens not to travel there, she said.
The alerts also reminded Chinese nationals in Iraq to pay attention to security situation, take precautions and stay away from the conflict areas, she added.
Hua said she did not have any information about sending delegation to Iraq, but noted that the embassy staff will fulfill their duty and pay close attention to the development of local security situation.
China has demanded the Iraqi side to strengthen protection to the Chinese embassy, agencies, enterprises and personnel, she said, adding that China will take necessary measures to ensure the safety of its citizens in Iraq as the situation evolves.