The highlights of China-Arab cooperation in the field of security

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the first China-Arab States Summit and the China-GCC Summit in Riyadh, we would like to conduct a short interview with you talking about the importance of this summit and the China-Arab Friendship based on our knowledge about the most special characteristics of the first China-Arab States Summit and the highlights of the summit. As what makes the summit extremely important, in addition to the agreements that will be signed, is its timing at a time when the world is witnessing changes, the transition to a multipolar world, the collapse of the unipolar policy, and stagnation in the global economy, and it also comes at a time when the conflict between Washington and Beijing is raging, and the arrival of US-Saudi relations  to their lowest levels, and the countries of the region diversifying their relations by strengthening their relations with China, Russia, India and others.

The summit comes after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, and the start of building a new world order, as the Arab power is currently in a different international situation.

The Arab-Chinese Summit, which is being held in Riyadh, represents a quantum leap in the development of Arab-Chinese relations, and carries a large number of important economic and political implications.

 This Chinese-Saudi-Gulf Arab summit lays down an institutional framework for Arab-Chinese relations through which it delineates the goals, mechanisms and future of this cooperation, which contributes to the development of relations at all economic, political, security and cultural levels.  $36 billion to $330 billion in 2021.

 There are also many promising opportunities and joint investments that can be employed between the two sides, especially in the field of digital technology, renewable energy, labor-intensive industries and entrepreneurship projects.

The summit will also discuss many promising investment opportunities with China, in the presence of Egypt and a large number of prominent Arab and Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have ambitious development visions and important investment opportunities such as giant national projects, perhaps the most prominent of which are the following projects:

 The development hub of the Suez Canal and the new administrative capital in Egypt.

 The NEOM project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

 Ambitious development projects in the UAE, all of which represent an attractive and promising environment for huge Chinese investments.

 Here, China Is of great importance to the Arab side, by benefiting from the Chinese development experience, which was based on labor-intensive projects, as well as small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurship projects.

  Since the beginning of this year, the China-Arab cooperation has continued to deepen. During this summit, energy cooperation is a major focus, new and renewable energy cooperation is also a major focus. So, the main questions emerging, are:

 Why does this kind of cooperation attract everyone’s attention? What are the highlights of China-Arab cooperation (in the field of security, etc.)?

 Here, we should know that the Chinese companies already play an important role in many countries in the Middle East, through direct Chinese investments in addition to many large infrastructure contracts awarded to Chinese companies.

 Chinese companies are building ports and free trade zones in the region, including in Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.  Cooperation between China and Arab countries has also grown to include digital technology, renewable energy, tourism and aviation.  Most of the GCC countries use Chinese Huawei technology in their communications networks.

In my view, the biggest focus on the Arab-Chinese summit remains:

-The ability of China and the Arab countries to agree to sell Arab oil in Chinese yuan instead of dollars, which means the beginning of the end of the notorious petrodollar policy.

 The ability to sign security agreements with China will provide it with a foothold in the region, as a future alternative to the United States of America.  Especially in light of the Gulf states’ need for allies, especially as they live in a state of strategic vulnerability that makes them unable to protect themselves.

-China’s participation in providing waterways and international trade routes, especially in the Strait of Hormuz, which is a high-risk area.

Here, Beijing is keen to interact with the Arab region under one umbrella, which is confirmed by the Chinese-Arab cooperation forums. However, this does not prevent the priority of West Asian countries, especially the Arab Gulf states and the Gulf Cooperation Council, in China’s grand strategy, as the region most capable of providing safe fuel.  To China, the “factory of the world” and the open market with high purchasing power, as well as the geopolitical advantages represented by its sea lanes and the location of that strategic region that place it at the heart of the Chinese “Belt and Road” initiative, especially the Maritime Silk Road, which is represented in the Arabian Gulf region and the Red Sea, all the way to  To the Egyptian Suez Canal, a unique path to achieve stable interdependence between the east and west of this world.

Here came the decisions of the “OPEC Plus” group regarding oil production, and its decision to reduce oil production at the request of the Saudi side in solidarity with Russia in its war against Ukraine and in support of China’s position, as a kind of match and competition theory, in which China competes with the United States.  America on the international stage, especially in the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia is considered the de facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), so the United States of America showed its frustration with the Saudi oil decision to reduce oil production, with officials in Washington believing that the conflict with Russia in Ukraine is a decisive moment that will shape the future of the global system, with their agreement also in the American administration that American hegemony over allies and historical partners in the region and the Arabian Gulf has begun to diminish in favor of fierce competitors such as China and Russia.

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