Middle East and China

Europe and America were using the card of Communism threat to counter Russia and China just after WWII. In this campaign, they used religion as a tool and brained washed Muslim world. By design, the West has gained the sympathies of Muslims against communism. The best-demonstrated example was the Afghan Jihad in the 1980s. When the former USSR forces entered Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan Government, the US used religion as a tool and asked Muslims from all over the world to fight against Communist Russia. Finally Russian withdrew from Afghanistan.

However, the US was able to control the natural resources of the Middle East and Muslim world for almost several decades and ensured its economic interests by hook or crook.

After the disintegration of the former USSR in 1991, the US created a new imaginary enemy – Muslim World. They did harm the Muslim world and looted their wealth. The Attack on Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and the Arab spring were all part of their strategy and plan.

Just in a couple of decades. The US with the alliance of NATO and some Western nations has killed millions of Muslims, injured a few million, damaged their houses, and destroyed their businesses and properties. Forced them to leave their homes and live in camps in their own country or migrate to other countries.

As a result, public opinion in the Muslim world became anti-America. The rulers might not be, but the masses believed that the US is engaged against them and eradicating them systematically. There was a vacuum created in the Muslim world. There was a space for any other big power to fill the vacuum. Russia and China were the only options. However, due to Russian engagement in Ukraine, it was not available immediately. So, China has created its place in the Muslim World.

China has its own Muslim population, living with local Chinese for centuries in complete harmony. It was natural that the Chinese opt for the Muslim world as partners, nations of shared fate, and strengthen ties.

Chinese President Xi Jinping returned to China on Saturday after attending the first China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit and wrapping up a state visit to Saudi Arabia. Officials and experts in some Arab countries spoke highly of Xi’s visit to the region, saying the trip is of strategic significance to enhancing cooperation and development, promoting peace and security, and deepening exchanges among civilizations.

The visit will inject great impetus into the development of China-Arab relations, China-GCC relations as well as China-Saudi Arabia ties, and will elevate the ties to new heights, they said.

CHINA-ARAB COMMUNITY WITH SHARED FUTURE IN NEW ERA

In his speech delivered at the first China-Arab States Summit, Xi said: “The Summit is a milestone in the history of China-Arab relations, and will take us to a more promising future of friendship and cooperation.”

As strategic partners, China and Arab states should carry forward the spirit of China-Arab friendship, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and foster a closer China-Arab community with a shared future, Xi said.

Echoing Xi’s speech, Mostafa Amin, an Egyptian researcher on Arab and international affairs, hailed the summit as a historic “milestone” in China-Arab relations, expecting it to promote cooperation between the two sides, accelerate economic development and generate stronger expectations for sustainable cooperation.

The China-Arab States Summit bore “special importance” as it was meant to promote the friendship and strategic partnership between Arab countries and China, said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Hamdi al-Tabbaa, president of the Union of Arab Businessmen and the Jordanian Businessmen Association, believed that the summit will chart a path for jointly building a China-Arab community with a shared future, which will deepen their cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), offer more development opportunities, and continuously improve people’s livelihood.

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Palestinian Fatah Central Committee and commissioner for relations with Arab countries and China, lauded China’s fair position on international affairs as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

“The double standards of the United States and other Western countries on the Palestinian-Israeli conflicts in recent years have made the Palestinian issue gradually sidelined, while China has always stood firmly on the side of the just cause of the Palestinian people,” he said.

“China has always supported issues in the Arab world, especially the Palestinian cause,” Saad said.

ADVANCING CHINA-SAUDI ARABIA BILATERAL RELATIONS

During their talks on Thursday, Xi and the leaders of Saudi Arabia agreed to jointly advance the China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership and achieve even greater progress.

In a joint statement released Friday, the two countries expressed satisfaction with the signing of the implementation plan for synergizing the BRI and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and agreed to accelerate the synergy of the two countries projects.

The deep synergy between the BRI and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 will bring advanced science, technology, and ideas to the country, and boost its economic and social development, said Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef.

Highlighting the complementarity between the two countries in the fields of economy and trade, the Saudi minister said that while China stands at the forefront of world innovation and high-tech development, Saudi Arabia is endowed with abundant mineral resources.

He expressed confidence in the broad prospects of bilateral cooperation, saying that besides the energy and mining industries, Saudi Arabia also boasts a unique geographical location and a complete infrastructure with thriving start-up businesses, which can make it an important hub for China’s investment and trade in the Middle East and North Africa.

GLOBAL IMPACT

Definitely, the Chinese visit will have a far-reaching impact and the US may not like it. But, the days to come will prove that China will boost this region’s economy, modernize its infrastructure, improve lifestyle and enhance security. China’s peaceful rise was very well conceived by the Muslim world and willing to learn from its experience.  It is expected a complete change in the trading pattern of this region will set new dynamics. China has money, technology, and above all a strong will to transform the fate of the whole region.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.