In a new Islamic State video that has undoubtedly caught Beijing’s eye, Uighur militants threaten to “shed blood like rivers” in China, pledge to avenge the oppressed, and burn the Chinese flag. This first apparent instance of a public Islamic State threat to China comes as an estimated one hundred Chinese nationals have left home to join the terrorist group. It also vividly illustrates the strengthening connection between security threats in the Middle East and China’s sense of its national interest.
China’s role in the Middle East has expanded in recent years, and its activism will be felt in the region and beyond. As Russia’s interventions transform Middle Eastern politics (most recently in Libya) and other external powers compete in the region, the Trump Administration will need to account for rising great-power activism as it frames its policies. In doing so, it must grapple with the new Chinese role, and how Chinese activism in the Middle East might recast the bilateral relationship generally.
In February 2011, Chinese military officials made an announcement that represented a historic first for their country: that they had redirected the frigate Xuzhou, previously deployed to the Gulf of Aden for antipiracy operations, to the shores of Libya to support the evacuation of 35,000 Chinese nationals fleeing the war there. This represented not only China’s first major expeditionary naval operation in modern times, but also its first use of long-range military transport aircraft for humanitarian purposes.
Read the full article at The American Interest.
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
CommentaryTrump Needs to Reestablish Deterrence with Iran
The attack attributed to Iran on Saudi Aramco oil facilities is the latest in a series of Iranian escalations—the May 14 and June 13 tanker attacks, the June 20 downing of a U...
By Kaleigh Thomas & Elisa Catalano Ewers
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