A Chinese naval frigate has evacuated 225 foreign citizens from strife-torn Yemen, the foreign ministry said, marking the first time that China's military has helped other countries withdraw their people during an international crisis. Ten nationalities were among those evacuated on Thursday afternoon from Aden, Yemen's second city, and transported to Djibouti, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. It said foreign governments - Pakistan, Ethiopia, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Britain, Canada and Yemen - had requested China's help. A spokeswoman said it was the first time China had carried out a specific evacuation of foreign nationals from a danger zone. A diplomatic source said the operation was "very risky" and that fighting had come close to the Chinese warship. "The Chinese ship was in the right place at the right time," the source said. Violence has spread across Yemen since last year, when Shiite Houthi fighters seized the capital, Sanaa, and effectively removed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition has hit the rebels with air strikes over the past week. A state television report yesterday showed evacuees, mostly Pakistani, arriving in Djibouti. The move bolstered China's image, said Shen Dingli, an international relations professor at Fudan University, Shanghai. "We wouldn't look very good if we have the capacity to help others but no heart to do it," Shen said. "Now we look really good." China had earlier evacuated 571 of its own nationals, along with eight foreigners who worked for Chinese companies. China is becoming more active in disaster relief and humanitarian aid abroad as its global economic interests widen. "China has been keen to learn from the experience of other countries on how to evacuate people, especially after Libya," said one Western diplomat in Beijing. "It's good to see China taking more of an interest in this."