At a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iyad bin Amin Madani, PRC President Xi Jinping said in Riyadh that China intends to deepen cooperation with Islamic countries.
“The Chinese side intends to deepen the integration of interests with Islamic countries, strengthen profitable ties, use each other’s opportunities and develop together within the framework of the Belt and Path Initiative [the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Silk Road],” quotes TASS Xi Jinping. According to the Chinese leader, it is necessary “to expand the dialogue of two major civilizations - Chinese and Islamic.”
In the run-up to Xi Jinping’s visits to the three named Middle Eastern countries, an article by the Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Li Chengwen, was published in the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao.
On his opinion, the visit of the chairman of the PRC to Saudi Arabia will have historical meaning: after all, it will be the first trip of the Chinese leader to the Middle Eastern country after King Salman came to power.
As Li Chengwen believes, Saudis are friendly to the Chinese people. There are examples of this: Riyadh provided 50 million US dollars and material assistance in the amount of 10 million dollars after the Wenchuan earthquake in China in 2008 year; At the EXPO exhibition in Shanghai in 2010, Riyadh allocated 150 million dollars for the construction of a pavilion in the form of a huge ship with an oasis, and at the end of the exhibition Saudi Arabia gave the pavilion to China (gratuitously).
Saudi Arabia is the largest trading partner and supplier of crude oil to China. In addition, the two countries are deepening cooperation in the field of space satellites, science and technology, nuclear energy and renewable energy sources, as well as finance. “In the context of ongoing unrest in the Middle East and deep changes in the global structure of energy resources, the number of common interests of China and Saudi Arabia is constantly increasing, the friend’s friend’s support and mutual needs are increasing, and the interaction prospects are wider,” the ambassador notes.
Why did Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran choose Xi Jinping for visits?
Professor of Arabic at Peking University of Foreign Languages, Director of the Research Center of the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum Xue Qingguo in an interview "People's Daily" He said that the three countries mentioned are the most influential states in the Middle East region. And Xi Jinping's first overseas visit to 2016 shows China’s increased attention to the Middle East.
Hua Limin, a former Chinese ambassador to Iran, the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands, recalled that after the 18th CPC congress, China’s leadership had embarked on comprehensive diplomacy. For three years, Xi Jinping has traveled to five continents, the former diplomat said, while the Middle East remained intact.
Speaking of friendship between China and Middle Eastern countries, Hua Limin described it as a time-tested experience. "For several decades, the world has witnessed great changes, many changes have occurred in the Middle East, but the friendly relations between China and the Middle East have remained the same," he said.
Director of the Arabic Research Institute of the University of Ningxia Li Shao told the publication that, against the background of the current difficult situation in the region, China is playing an increasingly prominent role in resolving issues in the Middle East. The PRC, in his opinion, is an active participant in the reconstruction of the political process in the region. In addition, Arab countries need economic development, and China is promoting the construction of a “single belt, one path” in the region.
Especially curious is the opinion of Chinese experts on cooperation with Iran.
"The state visit of PRC Chairman Xi Jinping to Iran will contribute to the further development of Iranian-Chinese relations," the correspondent told "People's Daily" Dean of the Faculty of World Studies at Tehran University Mohammed Marandi.
According to Marandi, the Middle East is a crossroads where Europe, Asia and Africa meet. Being an important regional state, Iran is ready to increase the level of cooperation with China in the political and economic spheres. “Iran needs the PRC, and China is interested in Iran,” the expert believes.
Iran has rich reserves of oil and gas resources, and its return to the energy market will change the economic structure of the world. “Oil and gas from Iran can be transported to China via the Persian Gulf, as well as through Central Asia,” the expert said. - If you choose the second option of transportation, Iranian-Chinese cooperation will contribute to the economic development of Central Asian countries. It can be said that friendship and interaction between Iran and the PRC not only have a positive effect on the two countries, stimulating active ties in the political, economic and cultural spheres, but also allow other states to benefit. ”
Marandi also said that Iran needs to strengthen trade and economic cooperation with China, since the PRC, being the second economy in the world, will become the best partner for Iran.
China’s desire to become “the best partner for Iran” does not please some Russian experts. I must say, not without reason. The raw material economy of Russia can suffer greatly from the intensification of oil cooperation between China and Iran.
“There has always been a good economic and political relationship between Iran and China,” said Reedus Leonid Gusev, Senior Researcher, Analytical Center, MGIMO Institute of International Studies. - Iran is in third place for shipments to China. In turn, the Tehran metro was built by Chinese engineers. So the relationship there is very close. They have cooled down a bit during the embargo, but now they will grow intensively. ”
Iran has accumulated large reserves of unrealized "black gold" over the years of the sanctions. Competition in the commodity market may lead to a decrease in oil prices. This is beneficial for China, but for Russia ... For Moscow, a rapprochement between Iran and China can turn into a real catastrophe, said Reedus.
The game of China on the competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia could lead to a further fall in oil prices. After them, inevitably, gas prices linked to oil prices will also fall. “All this gives Beijing the opportunity to continue to twist the Russian Federation’s hands when pricing is already on Russian supplies,” the newspaper writes. - China, as you know, prefers to diversify suppliers, so he is not going to give up Russian energy resources. The whole question is only in their price. ”
In addition, a number of “unpleasant surprises from the newly-made partner” can expect Moscow in the Middle East market. weapons. “Such a policy of China is extremely harmful for Russia,” summarizes Leonid Gusev. “But she has nowhere to go, in international economic cooperation, every man for herself.”
Summing up, we note that Chinese economic expansion into the region will inevitably push Russia aside, trying to regain once strong Soviet positions in the Middle East. The visits of Comrade X show that the Celestial Empire intends to expand cooperation with the countries of the region, including Iran with a rich resource. Intense competition between oil suppliers will undoubtedly lead to a further decline in oil prices and a weakening of the Russian economy, which is highly dependent on foreign economic conditions. Of course, Beijing uses the situation with profit for itself: the tougher the competition among commodity traders, the cheaper it is to buy the raw material of the Celestial.
Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru