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Beijing’s muted response to the U.S. killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani suggests China still isn’t ready to join Russia in taking a more direct role in the Middle East’s entrenched conflicts.

While Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China was “highly concerned” by the action and called it “unacceptable,” he didn’t use words like “condemn” or “denounce” like his Iranian and Russian counterparts, Javad Zarif and Sergei Lavrov. Instead, he told Zarif that China would “play a constructive role” to help safeguard regional security and said on a call with Lavrov that “all parties” must uphold international law.

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