NewsChina deepens ties with Arab world amid global tensions

China deepens ties with Arab world amid global tensions

The President of China wants closer ties with the Arab world
The President of China wants closer ties with the Arab world
Images source: © Getty Images | Pool

7:12 AM EDT, May 30, 2024

Chinese President Xi Jinping presented his vision for deepening relations with Arab countries. He seeks cooperation in areas such as finance, technology, and artificial intelligence. During the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing, he also emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the world.

China aims to strengthen ties with the Arab world. In his speech at the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing, President Xi Jinping highlighted that China is ready to enhance cooperation with Arab countries on many fronts. According to Bloomberg, potential areas of cooperation include finance, technology, artificial intelligence, and green solutions.

Referring to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Xi Jinping emphasized that "war should not continue indefinitely. Justice should not be absent forever." He noted that China supports Palestine's membership in the UN and the organization of a peace conference to help end the fighting.

Intensification of economic cooperation

Recently, China has significantly intensified its diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. Beijing was crucial in negotiating an unexpected agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran in 2023. The détente in relations between these two rival Islamic states persists despite tensions related to the war in the Gaza Strip.

Bloomberg writes that they observe an acceleration of Chinese investments in the Middle East region. For example, Beijing-based company Lenovo announced a convertible bond sale agreement worth £1.7 billion to the Saudi sovereign fund and plans to establish research and production centers in the country. Meanwhile, Saudi oil conglomerate Aramco is negotiating the acquisition of a stake in a Chinese petrochemical company for £1.3 billion. Chinese car manufacturer FAW Group plans to start producing electric vehicles in Egypt.

Chinese influence in the region is growing

Leaders from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Tunisia will attend the forum in Beijing. Discussions are expected to focus on rapidly growing trade and investment exchanges as well as regional security issues in the context of the war between Israel and Hamas.

While the administration of US President Joe Biden supports Israel in this conflict, China advocates for an immediate ceasefire and the recognition of the Palestinian state.

The alliance with Arab countries helps Beijing expand its political influence in countries that have recently viewed China primarily as an economic partner. It is also a way to gain new allies in the global competition for influence with the US.

China is not interested in Putin's flagship gas project

Reports of China's rapprochement with the Arab world are significant in the context of recent reports about the Beijing-Moscow relationship. According to Mikhail Krutikhin, a Russian energy expert, the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline project, pushed by President Vladimir Putin, did not meet with enthusiasm from the Chinese side during the last meeting of the leaders of both countries in Beijing, reports The Moscow Times.

According to The Moscow Times, during Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Beijing, China showed no interest in the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline project, which would deliver Russian gas through Mongolia. According to Mikhail Krutikhin, a Russian energy expert living in Oslo, this became clear even before the arrival of the Russian delegation in the Chinese capital.

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