The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia in December 2022 has once again brought China’s growing role in the Middle East into the spotlight. During his visit, President Xi attended the Sino-Arab Summit and China-GCC Summit, where he was reported to have played a key role in mediating the ongoing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
It is believed that Saudi Arabia had approached China to act as a mediator in the conflict with Iran, and China, with its growing influence in the Middle East, had accepted the request. With China’s assistance, the two countries resumed negotiations, and as a result, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi made a visit to Beijing in February 2023.
While the visit was officially aimed at strengthening bilateral trade and economic relations, it was seen as a significant step towards resolving the long-standing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Raisi’s visit to China was the first by an Iranian president in 20 years, highlighting the growing importance of China in the region.
China’s mediation in the Iran-Saudi Arabia conflict marks a significant shift in the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East. As a major player in the global economy and a growing military power, China’s involvement in the region has the potential to reshape regional politics and challenge the traditional power dynamics between the United States, Russia, and the Middle Eastern countries.
China’s involvement in the Middle East has been steadily increasing over the past few years, with the country investing heavily in infrastructure projects, energy resources, and military alliances. With its Belt and Road Initiative, China has also been expanding its economic and political influence across the region.
While China’s involvement in the Middle East has been welcomed by some countries, it has also raised concerns about the potential for the country to become a dominant player in the region. Critics argue that China’s growing influence could lead to increased instability and undermine the efforts of the United States and other Western powers to maintain stability and security in the region.
Despite these concerns, China’s mediation in the Iran-Saudi Arabia conflict could be a game-changer for the Middle East. With the two countries moving towards reconciliation, there is hope that regional tensions will ease, paving the way for greater cooperation and stability in the region. If China can continue to play a constructive role in regional politics, it could have a significant impact on the future of the Middle East and beyond.