Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Chinese Presence in Middle East between Rejection, Necessity | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi looks speaks to media after bilateral discussion with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera (not pictured) in Colombo, Sri Lanka July 8, 2016. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Beijing- The most popular topic in the local and international media is the possibility of Beijing changing its policy in the Middle East and participating militarily in the Syrian war following the visit of a Chinese military delegation to Syria. Both parties reached during the visit an agreement on reinforcing cooperation between the Syrian and Chinese armies, training individuals and providing humanitarian aid to Syria.

China remained cautious towards any actual involvement in a direct military action in the Middle East despite a debate that rose on the social network websites following the execution of Chinese hostage Fan Jinghui in Syria in 2015. The Chinese authority was accused of neglecting his case and not interacting with it.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the Chinese government denounces the brutal murders against humanity and that committers should be referred to justice. The FM described terrorism as a common challenge and said that China will cooperate with the international community to combat terrorism and maintain peace.

China knows very well that it will not maintain neutrality towards critical international topics including the Syrian war for a long time. China also knows that continuity of tension in the Middle East and the flow of refugees to Europe might expand to China one day.

Restoring peace in the Middle East requires mutual efforts from the regional countries and international community thus the absence of China would not be helpful.

China’s presence in the Middle East is essential but experts show concern over the Chinese foreign policy towards the region. On the other hand, China stressed in a statement, issued prior to Chinese president Xi Jinping visit to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, on its keenness to reinforce cooperation and communication with Arab countries in the field of fighting terrorism.