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Looking to the East | Concepts of China's position in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council

Eviralnews, during the last decade, the development of strategic relations between China and the sheikhdoms of the southern shores of the Persian Gulf has been one of the topics studied in the process of power transition “from West to East” and strategic changes in the energy market. Currently, the level of Beijing's relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is “comprehensive strategic partnership” and relations with Qatar, Oman and Kuwait are “strategic partnership”.

During the bilateral or multilateral meetings between the leaders of China and the Arab countries, it has always been emphasized that the long-term goals of the Arab countries in the national development documents overlap with the goals included in the “One Belt, One Road” super project. The Arab countries of the region have established deep relations with the Chinese side in strategic areas such as “sustainable energy supply”, “transfer of capital and new technologies”, “purchase of modern offensive-defense weapons” and “being in the value supply chain”, without being involved in challenges such as The type of government system or compliance with human rights standards. In the continuation of this note, we will try to identify the position of China in the map of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council.

Silk Road, China

The qualitative-quantitative development of relations between the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and China

During the tenth conference of heads and ministers of the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum in Beijing, the members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council also emphasized the effective participation in the “One Belt One Road” initiative. At the end of this meeting, a road map and two statements were published, in which China's increased role in the developments of the Islamic world was welcomed. The interpretation of this phrase is that if the demands of conservative Sunni countries regarding major regional conflicts such as the Palestinian crisis are not taken into consideration by Washington, then the increase of China's political role in regional developments can greatly help to secure the interests of Persian Gulf countries in the region.

Earlier, during the joint meeting between the President of China and the members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, the two sides demanded the establishment of an investment council and a nuclear security center.

Another benefit of highlighting China's role in current issues in the Middle East will be Beijing's attempt to bring Tehran together with regional plans. Analysts consider the conclusion of the agreement between Beijing and the normalization of Iran-Saudi relations as one of the achievements of increasing China's role in regional equations. Also, the Chinese desire to get closer to the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf is considered to fill the vacuum of America and create a gap between these countries and Washington. will be

The biggest negative variable in China's relations with the countries of the Persian Gulf are the American concerns regarding the “transfer of sensitive technologies”, “the entry of Chinese companies in the field of infrastructure development”, “sustainable energy supply”, “the placement of Arab countries in Beijing's value supply chain” and Finally, it is “reducing the historical reliance of Arab states on the West”.

Right now, the largest defense-security partner of the member countries of the Hamkai Council is Centcom, and considering the volume of relations between the parties, this situation does not seem to change for the next decade. The opposition of the Americans to the construction of a secret Chinese military base on the coast of the UAE, making the security agreement with Riyadh conditional on the reduction of defense relations with China, parallel investments in the ports of Duqm, Al-Salalah and Al-Sahar with the aim of curbing China's influence in Oman are a set of signs that increase the sensitivity of the palace. White indicates China's increasing influence.

As Saudi Arabia recently threatened the Group of Seven, if they seize Russian assets, it will sell bonds to the market, which shows the connection of the Persian Gulf countries to eastern currencies such as China and Russia. For this reason, Beijing has invested heavily in the gap between the Arab countries and the West, which worries Washington.

Perhaps for this reason, during the meeting with the members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, Joe Biden promised that Washington will not leave the region until the power vacuum is filled by China, Russia and Iran.

Indians, like Washington, consider China and its mega-project as a geostrategic rival of New Delhi's plan in the Indo-Pacific region. Based on this, New Delhi-Washington decided to unveil the IMAC Corridor, whose central link is the Persian Gulf, with the aim of creating a balance and restraining China. Another manifestation of the competition between these two emerging powers is the attempt to gain the privilege of developing and operating the Shahid Beheshti port on the ocean coast of Iran, until this moment the Indians stole the lead from their rivals.

Contrary to the will of the Americans, due to extensive investment in the Persian Gulf region and at the same time dependence on hydrocarbon resources, China intends to gradually play a strong military-political presence in the northern Indian Ocean. Holding joint naval exercises between Iran, Russia and China is the most important message to confirm this claim.

According to the “Atlantic Council” report, in 2022, the Chinese imported nearly 508 million tons of crude oil, of which 210 million tons (41%) were allocated to the Persian Gulf region. Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates were the top energy exporters to the “oil-eating dragon”. This trend has changed seriously after the beginning of the Ukraine crisis and at the same time the increase in inflammation in the energy market and even shows an upward trend.

The volume of China's economic relations with Saudi-UAE exceeded 200 billion dollars and this shows the wide scope of cooperation between the parties in the fields of energy, transit, investment and technology transfer.

Silk Road, China

Oil exports from the Persian Gulf region to China- 2022

Sino-Arab cooperation has a different meaning in the lens of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite the religious-cultural commonalities, Iran and the Persian Gulf states naturally compete with each other to communicate with the largest oil customer due to competition in the energy market. In this unequal competition, while Iran is grappling with a chain called the sanctions of the US Treasury Department, Oman sends 90% of its oil exports to the shores of Beijing, and exports to China form 8% of Saudi Arabia's GDP! However, Tehran has tried to maintain and even develop the oil export artery to Beijing by using its anti-sanctions network at the level of the region and the Islamic world. But in the political-security dimension of the Islamic Republic of Iran, due to its opposition to the presence of the United States in the region and support for the idea of ​​endogenous security from the role of other emerging powers in the security mechanisms of the region; It especially supports China and Russia.

The Chinese emphasis on economic development and corridor cooperation due to having a positive outlook can reduce geopolitical competition and start a new season based on economic cooperation and joint ventures.

Author: Mohammad Bayat, expert on West Asian issues

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Mhd Narayan

Bringing over 8 years of expertise in digital marketing, I serve as a news editor dedicated to delivering compelling and informative content. As a seasoned content creator, my goal is to produce engaging news articles that resonate with diverse audiences.

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