The future prospects of China-Arab cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative

If we are going to analyses the main questions, related to: will China and Arab states seek new future cooperation? What role does the Belt and Road Initiative play in the cooperation between the two sides?

We will find out that the important of the Belt and Road Initiative and its projects to the region, which China presented as its own model for globalization, comes through the Belt and Road Initiative, which has become an essential part of China’s foreign policy to the extent of its inclusion in the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, as a Chinese attempt to build an integrated market that allows China to expand its influence across the regions of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.

 Here comes the Importance of the Middle East, North Africa, the Arabian Gulf, and the Middle East in general in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

 Within the framework of the importance of the Middle East region in the Chinese strategy.  China is the largest importer of energy resources in the world, while half of its imported oil comes from the Arab region in particular.  In light of the tensions that prevailed in the global oil markets, China’s openness to the Middle East region, and its attempt to enhance Chinese influence, has become one of the necessities of the strategies of the Chinese energy security calculations.

 With China’s intention to align the Belt and Road Initiative with the economic plans of the countries of the region and their integration with them, such as Egypt’s Vision 2030 and Jordan’s Vision 2025, the Kuwaiti Silk City project, and the Mohammed VI smart city project in the Moroccan city of Tangier.  These Chinese steps have become integrated with the internal economic trends, the long-term development goals and the plans drawn up by the governments of the countries of the region.

 China also launched a group of joint projects with Iran, the value of which exceeds 400 billion dollars, which allowed Iran to bypass many of the restrictions resulting from Western sanctions on it.  This coincided with the launch of a number of Chinese investment projects in Iraq, which focused on the field of reconstruction after the destruction that resulted from the war with the terrorist organization ISIS.

 The biggest real challenge for China remains, is the extent of its ability to build political alliances with the Arab and Gulf countries, which translates and reflects the growing economic relations between them within the framework of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, especially in light of those contradictions that govern China’s relationship with several conflicting regional parties among them.

  From a political and strategic point of view, China seeks to enhance its influence and presence in the region, and to compete with other major powers, especially America and Russia, as China is largely economically present in the countries of the region, in exchange for the American military presence, and therefore Chinese influence began to increase in some files and political crises such as the crisis  Syria, in which China used the right of veto more than once.

The Arab-Chinese summit is the first hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and an important beginning of the strategic partnership between the Arab countries and China, through 3 summits, including a summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping, Saudi King “Salman bin Abdulaziz”, and Crown Prince “Muhammad bin Salman”.

 The China Arab Gulf summit on December 2022, which takes place between the Chinese president “Xi Jinping” and the kings and princes of the Arab Gulf countries, which indicates that Arab-Chinese economic and development cooperation awaits great open prospects, in light of the international conditions witnessing great turmoil.

So, we can find out that the first China-Arab-Gulf States Summit on December 2022 is another milestone mechanism for China and Arab States to promote the development of bilateral relations after the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. There are many kinds of cornerstone the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum has laid for the holding of the China-Arab States Summit, as this summit comes in light of developments in the international arena, starting with the US withdrawal from the Middle East, passing through the war in Ukraine and ending with the Chinese-American tensions, in light of the latter’s efforts to contain China as the strategic enemy of the United States according to the recently approved US National Security Strategy.

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit