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Leading Scholar Argues the Middle East is Pivoting to Regional Cooperation and China

TITLE TRANSLATION: A Tide of Reconciliation Opens New Possibilities for Middle East Dipomacy

The retreat of the United States is causing a ‘wave of reconciliation’ in the Middle East and reorienting these countries towards China. So says Ding Long, a prominent professor at the Middle East Institute at Shanghai University of International Studies.

Ding argued in an op-ed for the Chinese version of Global Times that the thawing of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, or Israel and the United Arab Emirates, points to a wider move towards cooperation largely due to an American retreat from the region.

He feels this shift is causing Middle East nations to look towards China, and that the recent flurry of Chinese Mideast diplomacy reflects a growing regional alignment with Chinese development-led models of peace-making.

Ding Long’s View of the Middle East’s “Tide of Reconciliation”:

  • DEVELOPMENT OVER CONFLICT: “Middle Eastern countries are [becoming] aware that their infighting, provoked by foreign forces such as the United States, makes them pursue so-called security at the expense of development and lose many development opportunities.”
  • BYE-BYE, GEOPOLITICS: “For a long time, the United States and other Western countries have […] coerc[ed] Middle East countries into endless geopolitical conflicts, and development was not on the agenda. The improved relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran shows that the Middle East countries are trying to get rid of the curse of geopolitical struggle.”
  • HELLO, CHINA: “The collective embrace of China by Middle East countries also reflects the new trend of economy and trade leading Middle East diplomacy, indicating that they have recognized China’s view of “development as the key”, and regard China as an important partner in economic development and transformation.”

Read the full column on the Chinese edition of the Global Times newspaper.

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