China says it is sending a medical team and supplies to Lebanon in the aftermath of the port explosion that injured more than 5,000 people.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Thursday that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had conveyed a message of condolence to Lebanese President Michel Aoun following the blast, which killed at least 135 people.
“As a friendly country to Lebanon, China is willing to continue to provide assistance within its capacity for Lebanon to tide over the difficulties,” Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.
China has long been a major customer for Middle Eastern oil and gas, and in recent years has sought to boost its influence in the area as an alternative to the US and Europe. For many years, China has also contributed soldiers to the United Nations peacekeeping operation in southern Lebanon.
Britain is sending a Royal Navy ship to Beirut to help the city recover from Tuesday's devastating port explosion.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace says the survey vessel HMS Enterprise, currently in Cyprus, will assess damage and help Lebanese authorities prepare to rebuild the port.
Britain has pledged a 5 million pound ($6.6 million) humanitarian support package for Lebanon and says it will send search and rescue teams and expert medical support.