To understand China’s role in the Middle East, consider one recent event, and one recent non-event. In late March, Beijing made headlines by sending warships to rescue hundreds of Chinese and foreign nationals from conflict-torn Yemen. Yet in early April, Chinese President Xi Jinping canceled what was supposed to be his first official trip to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, reportedly as a result of the fighting in Yemen — underscoring that Beijing would rather get out of the kitchen than stand the heat of Middle Eastern politics. Indeed, it is China’s considerable absence, rather than burgeoning influence, that continues to define its role in this turbulent region.
China has good reasons to care about events in the Middle East: Roughly halfof its oil imports come from the Persian Gulf. Moreover, Beijing worries about extremist elements in the region providing training and inspiration to Muslim separatists in western China.
Read the full op-ed at Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
VideoWhat does the US want from China? What is its endgame?
Daniel Kliman appears on a BBC News feature to discuss the state of U.S. policy toward China. Listen to the full conversation and more:...
By Daniel Kliman
Congressional TestimonyHow Corporations and Big Tech Leave Our Data Exposed to Criminals, China, and Other Bad Actors
I. Key Observations and Assessments1 Chairman Hawley, Ranking Member Whitehouse, distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss a topic of...
By Kara Frederick
CommentaryHow American Progressives Think About Asian Security
Democrats running for the 2020 U.S. presidential nomination implicitly accept – or at least have not rejected – the premise that the United States’ fate is linked to that of t...
By Van Jackson
ReportsImbalance of Power
In a new report, experts Daniel Kliman, Iskander Rehman, Kristine Lee, and Joshua Fitt evaluate trend lines in the India-China military equation and assess Delhi’s current mil...
By Daniel Kliman, Iskander Rehman, Kristine Lee & Joshua Fitt