Alessandro Arduino

Affiliate Lecturer, Lau China Institute of King’s College London

Alessandro Arduino is an affiliate lecturer at the Lau China Institute of King’s College London. He is also the co-director of the Security & Crisis Management International Centre at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science. His two decades of experience in China have focused on security analysis and crisis management. His main research interests are sovereign wealth funds, private military/security companies and China’s security and foreign policy primarily in the regions of China, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Arduino is also the author of several books including China’s Private Army: Protecting the New Silk Road (2018) and he has published articles in various journals in Italian, English and Chinese.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 20 March 2023. (Sputnik/Sergei Karpukhin/Pool via Reuters)

President Xi in Moscow: From wolf warrior to peacemaker?

President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, following on the heels of China’s role in brokering a Saudi-Iran deal, speaks of China’s new-found confidence as a diplomatic rainmaker.
Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, and Minister of State and national security adviser of Saudi Arabia Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban pose for pictures during a meeting in Beijing, China, 10 March 2023. (China Daily via Reuters)

Saudi-Iran deal: Diplomacy with Chinese characteristics gaining ground

By forging Saudi Arabia-Iran rapprochement based on the message that economic development goes hand in hand with security stabilisation, China has just strengthened its image as an alternative to the West in the global south.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 7 December 2022. (Saudi Press Agency/Handout via Reuters)

Not just the economy: China's growing cyberspace influence in the Middle East

While China-Middle East cooperation is predicated on strong energy cooperation, other facets will come to the fore as regional geopolitical balancing intensifies. Technology transfer and imparting values for cyberspace are just a few key influences that China hopes to assert in the region. However, an imperative remains that the Gulf looks to the West for its security needs.
China's President Xi Jinping and Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev pose for a picture during their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 15 September 2022. (Press service of the President of Uzbekistan/Handout via Reuters)

Can China be both economic and security guarantor in Central Asia?

Central Asia is a linchpin between Eurasia and Southeast Asia and a strategic node in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping notably visited Central Asia in his first foreign visit in over two years. But while China’s economic engagement is welcome in the region, it is currently not a confident security provider. Could things change in the near future?