The Gulf countries are looking to China when the U.S. commitment is being questioned

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 The Gulf countries are looking to China when the U.S. commitment is being questioned


Some people believe that this reflects the deterioration of relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia from one side. But in fact, this is part of the deepening bilateral relations between China and Saudi Arabia since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1990.

Although the one belt and one way initiative is expanding its strength and influence, China does not intend to form a strong military presence in the Middle East.

At a time when the US commitment to the Middle East is being questioned, the GCC is eager for more powers outside the region, especially interested in China and its one belt initiative.

Australias East Asia Forum website recently published an article by Jonathan Fulton, assistant professor of the University of UAE Abu Zabi Zayed, saying that when the US commitment to the Middle East was questioned, the Gulf Cooperation Council of Arabia (GCC) was eager for more outside powers interested in the stability of the Gulf, especially willing to pay attention to China and the one belt and one road initiative. With the formation of the one belt and one way initiative in this area, China GCC is expected to conduct wider cooperation. Reference message network compiles the article as follows:

In February 2019, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman signed a number of cooperation agreements with China during his visit to China.

_Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Ben Salman (Reuters)

Some people believe that this reflects the deterioration of relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia from one side. But in fact, this is part of the deepening bilateral relations between China and Saudi Arabia since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1990, as well as the growing relations between China and other GCC member states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

For these Gulf countries, the close relationship with the major powers outside the region is an important pillar of their foreign and security policies. After the end of the Gulf War, the United States played this role.

With the support of cartesianism, the United States has been implementing a strategy of balance of power in the region. The United States has two main objectives: to ensure that no other external force can challenge the dominance of the United States; no regional country has become strong enough to break this fragile balance.

Today, China is strengthening its cooperation with the region, focusing on economic aspects. As the worlds largest energy importer, China and the Gulf countries are important trading partners. From 2000 to 2017, the trade volume between China and GCC increased from nearly 10 billion US dollars to nearly 150 billion US dollars.

It should be pointed out that Chinas trade relations with the Gulf countries are not unilateral - China exports more to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates than imports.

_Dubai (Reuters)

Not only trade, but also Chinas foreign direct investment in the GCC is considerable, reaching nearly $90 billion between 2005 and 2018.

This is important for the Gulf countries. Because of the pressure of economic diversification, the Gulf countries have also started large-scale infrastructure projects. Chinese enterprises, especially the participation in infrastructure development, are also the driving force for the one belt and one road initiative.

Not only that, Chinese institutions also set up investment funds for the Gulf sovereign wealth fund to finance the Gulf diversification program and the one belt and one road related projects. At present, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have established a joint fund, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are said to be in the planning stage.

In addition, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have established RMB currency swap mechanisms to support many projects carried out by Chinese companies in the region. In 2018 alone, the UAEs RMB clearing house was used to liquidate $7 billion in transactions. As Chinas banks strengthen their operations in the region (mainly in Dubai), it is expected that the renminbi will be used more in China-GCC trade.

Chinas security role in the Gulf is different from that of the United States. Although the belt and road initiative is expanding its strength and influence, China does not intend to form a strong military presence in the Middle East. It is trying not to be destructive or ambitious.

Information Picture: On December 9, 2018, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, hosted the 39th Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States (GCC) Summit. (Xinhua News Agency)

At a time when the US commitment to the Middle East is being questioned, the GCC is eager for more powers outside the region, especially interested in China and its one belt initiative.

As the one belt and one road initiative continues to shape in the Middle East, China GCC is expected to conduct wider cooperation.

Source: Responsible Editor of Reference Message Network: Li Wan_B11284