Middle East

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi waits for the US secretary of state at the 60th Munich Security Conference at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, Germany, on 16 February 2024. (Wolfgang Rattay/Pool/AFP)

Pragmatism shall rule in China's 2024 international relations playbook

Amid China’s top diplomat Wang Yi’s stern warnings against “de-sinicisation in the name of de-risking” at the recent Munich Security Conference, academic Alessandro Arduino asks: is China prepared to alter its international relations playbook?
Singapore’s ambassador-at-large and former ambassador to the US Chan Heng Chee. (SPH Media)

Chan Heng Chee: Amid chaos, our national interest is the only constant

The future world will neither be unipolar nor bipolar but multipolar; the structure will be fragmented, and the heights of the poles will be asymmetrical. Amid the tensions and pitfalls, how does Singapore cope in an increasingly complex world? Lianhe Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong speaks with Singapore’s ambassador-at-large and former ambassador to the US Chan Heng Chee about the challenges the world faces.
Houthi fighters brandish their weapons as they rally during an anti-Israel and anti-US rally in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, Yemen, on 22 January 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

[Big read] Global anxiety as Houthis hold Red Sea in chokehold

As the Red Sea crisis goes on, with the Houthis targeting this key shipping route due to various geopolitical factors, logistics companies have to think of alternatives to move goods around the world.
A picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing over Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on 22 January 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AFP)

Chinese academic: The Middle East today is not in a worse state

Academic Fan Hongda argues that viewed against its modern history filled with contradictions and struggles, the Middle East is not in a worse state today, despite the recent rise in military operations in a short span of time.
A man holds a portrait of slain Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani on 5 January 2024 in the Iranian capital Tehran. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Terrorist attack in Iran sends shockwaves closer to China’s borders

With the latest 4 January bombing in Iran by the Islamic State, likely by the ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province) branch of the grouping, China is facing a renewed threat of one of its greatest fears: terrorism connecting the Middle East and Central Asia.
Yemenis brandishing their guns chant slogans during a march in solidarity with the people of Gaza, in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa on 15 December 2023. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

Bleak prospects for international cooperation to address Houthi Red Sea attacks

Reflecting on the rise of the Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea beyond targets “linked to the Zionist entity”, academic Alessandro Arduino points out that in light of current US-China tensions in the Indo-Pacific, compounded by the polarisation of the Gaza conflict, prospects for successful multinational cooperation in addressing the ongoing maritime crisis seem bleak.
Demonstrators take part in a march in support of Palestinians in Boston, Massachusetts, US, on 17 December 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP)

How Israel-Hamas war has revived debate on the clash of civilisations

Both Hamas and Israel have framed their war over Palestinian national independence as religious and civilisational, says academic Ma Haiyun. This seems to fit into Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilisations” theory, even though to define Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a cultural fault line war is historically, religiously and intellectually untrue. Such rhetoric is dangerous, especially when talk of religious wars is turning into reality, and the US’s “Israel first” policy is undermining US diplomacy, soft power, reputation, and most importantly, international institutions such as the UN that the US has sustained after World War II.
Palestinians inspect the destruction caused by Israeli strikes on their homes in the village of Khuzaa, east of Khan Yunis near the border fence between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip on 27 November 2023, amid a truce in battles between Israel and Hamas. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Chinese academic: What China wants to see from the Gaza-Israel war

Academic Fan Hongda says that the Gaza-Israel war is dividing the world on the lines of whether or not they are on the side of the G7. Although there has been no large-scale military spillover yet, the political spillover of the Gaza-Israel war is obvious. For China, a stable and peaceful Middle East is what it wants most. Thus, it has a great stake in pushing for an end to the war.
Smoke rises during an Israeli military bombardment of the northern Gaza Strip on 15 November 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Fadel Senna/AFP)

Israel-Hamas war testing credibility of China's Middle East strategy

Amid China's diplomatic efforts such as a visit to Beijing by Arab and Islamic countries this week, the Israel-Hamas war is bringing about a much-needed reality check on China's ambitions in the Middle East, says Jean-Loup Samaan, a senior research fellow at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore.