On SAGE Insight: China’s diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East: The quest for a great-power role in the region

From International Relations

Since the early 2010s, there have been mounting calls in China to intensify its role in the Middle East. So what role does China actually strive for in the Middle East? Following the outburst of the Arab Spring events (2010), a vibrant discussion erupted in China about the need for a policy change on the Middle East. The general argument was that considering its growing dependence on Middle Eastern energy sources, and in view of the tectonic political changes in the region, China should abandon its hitherto passive approach to the Middle East. Instead, it should start acting vigorously to secure its interests there – not only the economic domain, but in the political and strategic areas too. This article first presents the major themes of China’s discourse on its future role in the Middle East; next, it analyzes China’s involvement in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the Syrian civil war, focusing on three diplomatic initiatives it has made since the early 2010s: the 2013 four-point proposal for settlement of the Palestinian question, the 2014 five-point proposal on a ceasefire in Gaza, and the 2012 four-point proposal for resolving the civil war in Syria. The belief is that China strives to be part of major processes in the Middle East and attempts to advance its values and interests there, but in a unique pattern of big-power involvement in the region, it tries to achieve this without intensive investment of political, economic, and military resources.

Abstract

Since the early 2010s, there have been mounting calls in China to intensify its role in the Middle East. But seeing the region as highly turbulent, Beijing seems to restrain its political involvement there. So what role does China actually strive for in the Middle East? To answer this question, the article first presents China’s discourse on its future role in the region; next, it analyzes China’s involvement in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the Syrian civil war, focusing on three diplomatic initiatives it has made concerning these issues. The argument here is that China strives to be part of major processes in the Middle East and attempts to advance its values and interests there, but in a unique pattern of big-power involvement in the region, it tries to achieve this without intensive investment of political, economic, and military resources.

Read this article for free

Article details
China’s diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East: The quest for a great-power role in the region
Yoram Evron, University of Haifa
2017, Vol. 31
International Relations
10.1177/0047117815619664

 

 

 

     
This entry was posted in Politics, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply