With the intensification of competition between the United States of America and China at the global level, the echoes of this rivalry reached the Middle East and North Africa, specifically those related to the Palestinian issue and the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as China increasingly refuses to rely exclusively on the American security umbrella in the region. China’s increasing security presence in the region poses a dilemma for the United States of America and its allies. China’s vital infrastructure investments play a major role in strengthening China’s security presence in the heart of the region. Here, China has become more willing to share sensitive military technology and cooperate in research and development with regional partners in the Middle East. China and Saudi Arabia have announced plans to jointly produce drones, and a number of US and international military reports in 2021 indicate that Saudi Arabia was producing missiles. Ballistic with Chinese technological support. The Chinese government adheres to the basic principle of “advancing security through development to solve problematic issues in the Middle East region”, foremost of which is the Palestinian issue. The important cause of the Middle East turmoil from the Chinese point of view is the issue of development, and the way to its final settlement depends on development as well. This is what was confirmed by Chinese President “Xi Jinping” during his speeches, by specifically indicating that:
“The tree of peace cannot grow in barren land, and the fruit of development cannot be harvested amidst the blazing flames of war and its smoke that fills the sky”
China follows the “four opinions strategy” put forward by Chinese President “Xi Jinping” to push for a political settlement of the Palestinian issue, adheres to work to advance the peace process in the Middle East, supports the just cause of the Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate rights, and China supports the Palestinian Authority in establishing an independent state with Full sovereignty on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Here, the Chinese Special Envoy for the Middle East has made several rounds of mediation between the countries of the region in recent years, by working to resolve the differences between all and advancing dialogue. China, through its presence in the United Nations and other global forums, calls on the international community to strengthen support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, which is known internationally as (UNRWA), and China is playing a positive and constructive role in achieving and advancing the comprehensive peace process in the Middle East. . Even in the Syrian file, China has also become a constant force for advancing a political settlement and promoting peace in the region.
Here came the statement of the Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations in July 2017, Liu Jieyi, in his assertion that “China considers Palestine and Israel important partners in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, and it is ready to work within the concept of development for peace with the aim of pushing Palestine and Israel to engage in beneficial cooperation.” BOTH parties”. The first practical Chinese application came to the statement of the Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, through the qualification of (China National Technology Import and Export Corporation), a Chinese state-owned company, for the final round of competition for the implementation of the first phase of the “Bahrain Canal” project. In which Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan participate.
On Monday, June 29, 2020, the Chinese ambassador to Palestine, Guo Wei, confirmed that China rejects any efforts by the Israeli occupation to annex any part of the lands of Palestine, and China opposes any unilateral measures to harm stability and peace. In the same context, the Chinese Foreign Minister’s speech was confirmed before the Security Council conference on the Palestinian issue on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, stressing that the Palestinian issue is a central issue in the Middle East and finding a just and comprehensive solution to it is a prerequisite for achieving peace and security in the region, because China is deeply concerned about the ongoing tension in the region, especially between Palestine and Israel.
China is trying to present itself as an acceptable party to solve the problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict in terms of development for the sake of peace through its Belt and Road initiative, especially with the Palestinians’ refusal of exclusive American sponsorship of the political settlement process in the Middle East, given its bias towards Israel, and their demand for international and Chinese sponsorship to hold an international peace conference, which it rejects. Israel strongly, while Beijing encourages it, especially with the suspension of negotiations to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict between the Palestinians and Tel Aviv since April 2014, given the Israelis’ refusal to release old detainees, stop settlement activity, and accept the pre-June 1967 war borders as a basis for a two-state solution.
The Chinese initiative for the Belt and Road in the political part of it and linking it to the developmental one in China to achieve the comprehensive peace process in the Middle East is based on the need to explore development paths for each of the countries in the region with their independent will, with China’s pledge to support the countries of the Middle East to solve regional security issues through cooperation and coordination, and making efforts Joint partnership with China in building the “Belt and Road” and implementing the global development initiative launched by Chinese President “Xi Jinping” in pursuit of development in the Middle East region as a true gateway to peace according to the Chinese point of view. Here, China pushes for the implementation of the global security initiative, and calls for the establishment of the new joint, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security structure in the Middle East, which contributes to Chinese wisdom and solutions in the political settlement of regional hot issues, according to the exact interpretation confirmed by the Chinese Ambassador, “Guo Wei”, Director of the Office of the People’s Republic of China. The State of Palestine, during an interview with him on Palestinian websites, on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.
The Chinese response came in practice to support the Palestinian cause internationally, by voting in favor of the Palestinians and attacking the Israeli policies of escalation during the session of the UN Security Council in its emergency session on the Palestinian issue on January 5, 2023, and pushing China towards the UN Security Council playing its due role in resolving the problem of the Palestinian issue. With the view of the Chinese Foreign Ministry that the escalation of the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a result of the cessation of peace negotiations between them and the delay in achieving the “two-state solution”.
Accordingly, an increasing number of experts and analysts within China argue the need to intervene more in Middle Eastern issues and increase Chinese security and military influence, and they believe that the Belt and Road Initiative will create an economic system outside Washington’s control, which will generate at some stage a challenge to American hegemony. In addition, the weaknesses of US security policy in the region have become more apparent with the intensification of the battle between Washington and Tehran. There is growing evidence that countries in the region, particularly the Gulf, are willing to explore alternative security arrangements. One future formula for this could be a “collective security structure” that brings together the main regional players and international players from outside the region, including China, Russia, and possibly India.
Within the framework of China’s keenness to advance the comprehensive peace process in the Middle East region, to resolve and settle the Arab-Israeli conflict and all security and strategic issues in the region, the Chinese government held the second session of the Middle East Security Forum in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on September 21, 2022, under the title: “Constructive Advancement”. A new framework for Middle East security and achieving common regional security. Wang Yi, in his capacity as State Counselor and Chinese Foreign Minister at the time, presided over the opening session of the forum via videoconference, stressing that China is keen to seize the opportunity to implement the global security initiative put forward by Chinese President “Xi Jinping”, to work with Middle Eastern countries and the international community to advance the construction of a framework New Middle East Security.
Therefore, the debate took place internationally and within China itself about whether the Belt and Road Initiative was an economic project in the first place, or whether it could be linked to other political and security goals affecting China’s interests, as some influential Chinese experts and analysts argue that the goal of the initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Infrastructure is a challenge to the current international system, to get rid of Washington’s hegemony, and that the initiative is an expression of the new Greater China strategy, and therefore, Beijing aims to add its vision to build a new world order led by China. A recent report to the US Congress on Chinese military power warned that Beijing could soon use these contributions to establish military bases throughout the region. This view is consistent with the recent Chinese military doctrine, issued in 2019, which adopts a broad Chinese vision of national security that includes Chinese military involvement in cases of threatening China’s territorial integrity, including the threat to maritime and space sovereignty, the restoration of national unity and the maintenance of Chinese interests overseas while maintaining strategic deterrence. Preparing for counter nuclear strikes, participating in regional and international security cooperation, strengthening the ability to prevent penetration, prevent secession, combat terrorism, ensure national political security and social stability, and protect the rights and interests of the Chinese people everywhere.
China links its development initiative of the Belt and Road to resolving conflicts and intervening in conflicts by improving the lives and well-being of poor and developing peoples and achieving comprehensive peace globally. Therefore, China launched the Global Security Initiative as part of the new and comprehensive Chinese vision of development for peace. Here, the leaders of the ruling Communist Party in China set the slogan of “The Hundred Years’ Dream”, which coincides with the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, or as it is called New China 2021. China defined its comprehensive vision of peace linked to global development through its Belt and Road initiative geographically, which has become known as:
“Chinese Peripheral Diplomacy”
This peripheral diplomacy revolves around the assumption that China is located in the center of the world, while other neighboring countries are on the periphery, but it goes beyond that to include most parts of the world, and the values of the initiative are very similar to the values of peripheral diplomacy, in the sense that it means the values of: openness, inclusiveness and win-win for all, for balanced economic cooperation, and its objectives similarly reflect the objectives of peripheral diplomacy, namely: (policy coordination, utilities connection, unhindered trade, and financial integration). Here, some see the Belt and Road Initiative as a strategy that primarily seeks to rebuild the regional system by placing China as the leader of a central Asian system, and then building a new world order led by China, which is known as:
“Sinocentric Asian Order”
China has moved towards achieving the goal of being an internationally influential international weight, by putting forward the Belt and Road Initiative, and in this context, US Deputy Secretary of State “Robert Zoellick” stated in 2005 during his speech at the National Committee for US-China Relations that “we now need to encourage China to Become a responsible stakeholder in the international format of “Stakeholder”
In this context, both thinkers “Niall Ferguson and Moritz Schularik” have coined the term of “Chimerica”. This term describes the economic interdependence relations between America and China, which has been a major driver in the global economy for years, and the most prominent example of Chinese economic interdependence was China’s purchase of US government securities that finance the US budget deficit.
Multipolarity – from the Chinese point of view – constitutes an important basis for achieving lasting peace in the world, as it will lead to building a just political and economic system and will establish a relatively stable international political framework and promote exchanges and cooperation, as all countries must be equal members of the international community without hegemony with following a model of common development within the framework of mutual trust, equality and neighborhood, and try to settle disputes through peaceful means and dialogue, which is the approach that China has adhered to. Thus, Chinese foreign policy rejected the idea of unipolarity, calling for building a new international system that achieves the interests of all countries and does not allow a single country to lead the world, as China believes that multipolarity is an important basis for world peace, and that democratization of international relations is a basic guarantee for this peace. All nations must benefit equally from the side effects of globalization in its various dimensions, especially the economic one, in the twenty-first century.
The path of China’s political and security interventions in the Middle East can be traced by identifying the most prominent developmental, cooperative, investment and economic paths for China through its Belt and Road initiative. China has concluded partnership agreements with 15 countries in the region, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and has also participated in anti-piracy, sea and security missions, in both: the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, according to the statistics of the European Council for Foreign Relations. In light of this, China’s dependence on the security structure led by the United States of America decreased, with the increase of the American strategic shift towards the East Asian region, so all these factors combined led to an increase in China’s participation in Middle Eastern issues and security and political affairs in the region.
Here, China is trying to follow a comprehensive development strategy to achieve the comprehensive peace process in the Middle East. From the Chinese perspective, the development that China seeks in the region is one of the solutions to ensure a stable security region according to the Chinese point of view, related to its vision of the Belt and Road Initiative, in addition to its strategy to ensure the safety of Chinese residents present in all countries of the Middle East region, whose numbers are estimated at about 550,000. Chinese citizen, according to a study issued by Georgetown University in Qatar, entitled:
“The Red Star and the Crescent”
In light of this new Chinese development strategy in the Middle East region, China has been trying in recent years to play a fundamental role in the peace process in the region. Recently, specifically in 2017, China announced a new plan for peace that focuses on the economic field. Thus, the proposed Chinese peace initiative is based on the principles and mechanisms of previous international initiatives related to the conflict, and even strengthens them through its interest in “economic peace” strategies that it adopts in the same orientation and direction. United States of America at the present time. The aforementioned Chinese plan for “peace through economic development” calls for China to facilitate economic dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This approach primarily serves China’s goal of increasing and securing its projects in the region, and also supports its ambitious “Belt and Road” initiative to link China with the European continent by establishing infrastructure and commercial projects through sea and land corridors crossing 68 countries around the world.
In February 2016, China established its first logistical support bases for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army abroad in Djibouti, a military base equipped to accommodate at least 10,000 soldiers, according to the Arab Policy Forum website. China also plans to establish additional military bases for it in the Middle East region, according to the annual report of the US Congress on Chinese military power for the year 2019.
Finally, we have to understand that deepening China’s relations with Middle Eastern countries outside the scope of trade must concern the United States of America, especially since US President Joe Biden’s administration has taken steps to reduce interest in the region, thus opening the door to increasing Chinese influence in the countries of the region. This is what was confirmed by a White House adviser in Washington and a senior US national security official, that:
“If you were to rank the regions that Biden prioritizes, the Middle East is not in the top three”
Hence, we understand the extent of the Chinese desire to position and have a massive presence in the Middle East, with China’s desire at the same time to redraw the maps of Chinese influence in the region, by activating economic and political tools to expand and acquire more new geopolitical spaces in the Middle East. This is what most countries in the region welcome, especially since most Arab opinion polls indicate that China is the most popular international power in the Middle East and North Africa. Foremost among them is China.