The Chinese leadership continues to rely on a diplomatic initiative in the Middle East to politically stabilize the region. After the success in terms of diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran, Beijing goes one step further.
Recently, the communist leadership in Beijing has attracted attention primarily through new diplomatic initiatives. So far, the Chinese have tended to remain in the background on a geopolitical level and have tried to exert their political weight primarily at UN level and in bilateral talks. But after the peace plan for Ukraine came success as an impartial mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
But that’s not all. A high-level meeting of representatives from the Arab Gulf countries and Iran is scheduled to take place later this year in the Chinese capital Beijing, according to sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Chinese President Xi Jinping pitched the idea for the summit during a regional summit he attended in Riyadh last December. According to the report released on Sunday, leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), made up of six countries, welcomed Xi’s proposal to ease tensions with Iran.
However, this also makes it clear that US influence in the region is waning. In particular because Washington is considered to be highly partisan, while Beijing tries to maintain good relations with all conflicting parties and not to choose sides. This reality became clear during the secret talks between Iranian and Saudi officials in Beijing last week, during which, according to the WSJ, “all parties agreed not to use English in the negotiations, but to draft speeches and documents in Arabic, Farsi or Mandarin.”
We are thus seeing a gradual geopolitical turnaround that is also affecting the Near and Middle East. Beijing can also use a certain diplomatic lever as a result of its own economic power. As a major buyer of oil, gas and their derivatives, China is extremely important to the regional economies. In addition, regional leaders are also aware that war would nullify efforts at economic diversification.
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