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China in the Middle East: the overarching imperatives

25 Sep 2018

Reflecting Deng Xiao Ping’s philosophy of not taking a leading role, China did not seek to project itself on the world stage. That philosophy was overturned by current Chinese President, Xi Jinping, who, it would appear, was sufficiently confident in China’s economic and military prowess to begin to actively engage with various regions in order to bring about his ultimate goal: the rejuvenation of China and its objective of taking its place close to, if not at, the very top of the international system. It is hardly surprising, then, that China turned its attention almost immediately to the Middle East.

Key points:

  • China has decided to actively engage with the Middle East for a variety of reasons.
  • These range from its desire to securitise its energy imports and protect its manufactured exports to its attempts to increase its influence in the international system.
  • It has, therefore, created an Arab Policy Paper, which sets out some of its goals in the region.
  • Beijing also seeks to act as a peace-maker and possible arbiter in the Middle East.
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