Middle East | Middle East and North Africa: Forcing China to revisit long-standing policies

Middle East and North Africa: Forcing China to revisit long-standing policies

May 27, 2015 5:10 PM (UTC+8)

 

By James M. Dorsey

Synopsis: The fractious Middle East and North Africa is compelling China to rethink its long-standing principle of non-interventionism to protect its economic interests. It is also prompting it to articulate a Middle East policy that serves China’s interests without putting it at loggerheads with the United States. Commentary A SCAN of white papers on multiple foreign policy issues published by the Chinese government is glaring for one thing: the absence of a formulated, conceptual approach towards the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This is a part of the world that is crucial not only to Chinese strategic and economic interests but also to how tensions in the restless Muslim province of Xinjiang will develop. For much of the four decades of economic reform that has positioned China as one of the world’s foremost players, the People’s Republic could remain aloof to crises in the MENA region as Beijing single-mindedly pursued its resource and-export driven objectives. That is proving increasingly difficult as tortuous, bloody and violent conflicts threaten to redraw the post-colonial borders of a region that is crucial to a continued flow of oil and through which at least 60 percent of Chinese exports pass. Read more

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