China-Middle East relations

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.
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.
US President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 leaders' summit in Bali, Indonesia, on 14 November 2022. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The Middle East shadow on Biden-Xi meeting in San Francisco

While there are some expectations that the US and China may agree to work more closely on preventing the Gaza conflict from escalating into a wider regional war, their starting points when they meet in San Francisco may be too far apart. Academic Alex Arduino examines the issue.
Smoke billows following Israeli strikes amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza, on 13 October 2023. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

Chinese academic: No country can mediate the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

In the absence of a solution to the Palestinian issue, the Palestine-Israel peace process will be at a stalemate, unless Israel is able to completely destroy Hamas and other Palestinian anti-Israel forces. In the short term, Israel’s stance on Palestine, especially the Gaza Strip, is likely to harden, says Chinese academic Fan Hongda.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (centre) attends the UAE-Japan Business Forum in Abu Dhabi on 17 July 2023. (Karim Sahib/AFP)

Asserting Japan's interests in the Middle East

Japanese academic Masaaki Yatsuzuka notes that Japan's Middle East diplomatic initiatives pit it against China, which is also attempting to increase its influence among the Arab nations. How will developments pan out, and what does the future hold for Japan-Middle East relations?
This handout picture provided by the Iranian foreign ministry shows Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (left) shaking hands with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan (right) and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang (centre) during a meeting in Beijing on 6 April 2023. (Iranian Foreign Ministry/AFP)

China's Saudi-Iran deal only a defensive response to Western security challenges

Academic Ma Haiyun explains how the Saudi-Iran detente is the experiment and application of China’s GSI with a focus on national and regime security, when Saudi Arabia, Iran and China have been facing increasing security challenges from the US and the West.
Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission attends a meeting with Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and Minister of State and national security adviser of Saudi Arabia Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban in Beijing, China, 10 March 2023. (China Daily via Reuters)

Differences between the US and China in Middle East peace advocacy

China’s success in mediating peace between long-term rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran has highlighted the major power’s role as a key player in security in the Middle East. While some international media take it as a sign of China’s ambitions, academic Fan Hongda feels that the peace deal has addressed a common need for all parties, and China has its own way of promoting peace in the region.
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.