Iran-Saudi Arabia deal puts China in unfamiliar global role


BEIJING (AFP) A deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to resume diplomatic relations has given China a leading role in Middle East politics. Another sign that we are growing to accommodate.

However, many governments in the Middle East rely on China for 30% of its foreign trade, with Saudi Arabia, China’s largest oil supplier, pledging China to invest her $400 billion. It considers itself a neutral country with strong ties to both Iran. Over 25 years. With little export market due to sanctions over its nuclear program, Iran sells oil to China at deep discounts.

Amanda Xiao, an analyst at the Taipei-based International Crisis Group, said the deal “strengthened Beijing’s ability to present itself as a constructive actor for peace and support Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.” “It will help deflect Western accusations that there are.” “This shows that China is looking to compete with the United States not only in its neighbors, but also in foreign diplomacy,” said Wang Lian, a professor of international relations at the prestigious Peking University in Beijing. Wang said the successful negotiations show that the two sides “trust China.”

Previously, China had actively sought to build ties in the South Pacific and had signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, which has seen Chinese naval vessels and security forces present in the country. Australia and others quickly rushed to strengthen ties in the Pacific, and China’s efforts to strike similar agreements with other island nations ultimately failed.

After securing his third norm-breaking five-year term, Mr. Xi appears more at odds with the West than ever, with his foreign minister a few days ago warning of a future “conflict with the United States.” warned about conflict.

It is too early to tell whether the deal will bring lasting improvements to the two long-standing antagonisms, let alone more stability in the Middle East. Their underlying conflict does not seem to be discussed.

But for Saudi Arabia, the deal could ease its search for an exit from its proxy war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. For Iran, it may also contribute to regional stability amid growing domestic problems.

Not everyone is happy with the agreement.

Amid domestic political pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened a military strike as Iran’s nuclear program approaches ever closer to weapons-grade enrichment. Riyadh, which is seeking a deal with Tehran, is taking potential strike allies off the table.

It was unclear what this development meant for Washington.

But the White House frowned on the idea that the Saudi-Iranian deal in Beijing suggested that Chinese influence could replace the United States in the Middle East. “We strongly reject the idea of ​​us pulling out of the Middle East.

The fact that Saudi Arabia made the deal without Washington shows they are trying to “diversify their security bets and not rely solely on the United States,” said John of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Alterman wrote in a memo on the deal. “The U.S. government is divided on that. They want the Saudis to take more and more responsibility for their own security, but they want Saudi Arabia to become a freelancer and undermine U.S. security strategy. does not want,” Alterman writes.