M. van Rijsingen
- Beijing's rising star in the Gulf Region: the near and the distant future
- Journal of Greater Middle Eastern Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 1 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In recent years we have seen a notable shift in thinking about China’s "peaceful rise." One flawed framework (a "China on steroids") is on its way to substitute for another one (a "weak China"). The People’s Republic of China is an emerging superpower whose diplomacy has become distinctly more robust under its current President) Hu Jintao. This is also reflected in its policies vis‐à‐vis the Middle East) Iran and Saudi Arabia in particular. However) after close inspection) it appears that Beijing’s relations with these two hydrocarbon superpowers are less established than assumed. China remains very far from
ready to challenge the United States head on and still sees enormous benefits in keeping on good terms with its biggest export market. In the Persian Gulf region it is walking a political tightrope in its relations with Iran) while grasping the fact that Saudi Arabia is still handcuffed to the United States. Although China is trying to build up close ties with these countries) the relationships appear largely to be dependent on US involvement. In the immediate future China and the United States are therefore unlikely to head for a collision course) but careful scenariowriting reveals that this may change in the coming decades.
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