Asian nations are preparing to potentially evacuate expatriate workers from Iraq and Iran amid rising tensions between Tehran and Washington after the U.S. killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a Friday drone strike in Baghdad, according to the AP.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Filipino military to have aircraft and ships ready “at any moment’s notice” in the event that tensions escalate.
“President Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be prepared to deploy military assets to repatriate overseas Filipinos in the Middle East, particularly from Iran and Iraq, at any moment’s notice,” Filipino Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go, who attended a meeting of defense, military and police officials called by Duterte, told the AP.
“I’m nervous. Iran seems to be hell-bent on a retaliation, which I think will come. It’s a matter of time ... the cry for blood is there,” Duterte said in a speech Monday.
Iran has vowed a response after Soleimani’s death, while President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE has asserted that the U.S. will hit 52 unspecified Iran targets in response to any retaliation.
South Korean officials, meanwhile, are discussing how to strengthen security for the nearly 1,900 South Koreans in the two nations, according to the AP, while an Indian foreign ministry spokesman told the AP the nation is not planning to evacuate any citizens “yet.”
Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he has spoken to both U.S. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoObama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe The CIA's next mission: Strategic competition with China and Russia Biden, Trump tied in potential 2024 match-up: poll MORE and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. “India remains deeply concerned about the levels of tension,” he said on Twitter.
Just concluded a conversation with FM @JZarif of Iran. Noted that developments have taken a very serious turn. India remains deeply concerned about the levels of tension. We agreed to remain in touch.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) January 5, 2020
China, meanwhile, has made no indication of planned evacuations but has previously taken such steps, pulling nearly 500 Chinese nationals from Yemen in 2015 and 3,000 from Vietnam in 2014 amid riots caused by the presence of a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters, according to the AP.