News | Dec. 1, 2011

The Emergence of China in the Middle East

By James Chen Strategic Forum 271


The Emergence of China in the Middle East
The Emergence of China in the Middle East
Strategic Forum 271
Photo By: NDU Press
VIRIN: 180313-D-BD104-013

Key Points

  • China’s presence in the Middle East has grown exponentially over the past decade and is affecting the region’s strategic environment. Chinese influence is multidimensional, encompassing economics, defense, diplomacy, and soft power. 
  • Beijing currently sees its interests in the Middle East best served by focusing on commerce and keeping a low profile. However, Middle Eastern states are increasingly drawing China into political and security issues, which may lead China to play a more prominent political role in the region. 
  • To mitigate any potentially negative effects of China’s growing influence, the United States should explore cooperative efforts with China in energy security, continue strategic dialogue with the Chinese government on Middle East issues, and maintain a military presence to ensure continued security of U.S. allies and freedom of navigation in Middle Eastern waters.

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