Dec. 1, 2011
The Emergence of China in the Middle East
During the 9th century, Arab traders regularly plied lucrative maritime routes
that connected the Persian Gulf to southern China by way of the Indian Ocean. This
commercial activity, which mostly involved jade, silk, and other luxury goods, went on
for centuries and became part of what is now known as the Silk Road. In some ways,
the world is now witnessing a restoration of that ancient trading relationship between
two civilizations—except that oil and consumer goods have replaced jade and silk.