China’s changing role in the Middle East

Flags of Saudi Arabia and China are hanged in front of Tiananmen Gate before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit in Beijing, China February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee - RC1B4DECB6D0

A quiet shift in geopolitics has been taking place, with East Asia and the Middle East drawing closer together. Energy trade explains part of this, as Japan, South Korea, and China are consistently among the largest export markets for Middle East oil and gas. In the case of China, the relationships have moved beyond economic interests to incorporate strategic concerns as well. The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East report has released a new report by Dr. Jonathan Fulton on this subject: “China’s Changing Role in the Middle East.” The report analyzes China‚Äôs presence in the Middle East, examines the response of Middle Eastern states, and explores how US-China competition plays out in the region: are their interests compatible, creating opportunities for cooperation, or do they diverge to the point that competition is the most likely outcome?