Beijing [China]March 14 (ANI): On March 10, Western observers were shocked to learn that Saudi Arabia and Iran were to resume diplomatic ties with the mediation of China, Asia Times reported.
By US standards, China’s footprint in the Middle East is negligible. But China’s influence in trade and technology, particularly in West Asia, has expanded significantly, enabling Beijing to turn its slow soft power buildup into an unheard of diplomatic coup.
Saudi Arabia is the clear winner of the deal. The suspension of hostilities signals the withdrawal of Iran and its proxies after decades of proxy wars between Shia Iran and Sunni kingdoms. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on March 10 that “any attempt to de-escalate tensions in the region … is in our interest”, adding that the US welcomed the agreement.
But China’s victory in the Persian Gulf signaled the failure of U.S. efforts to contain China’s dominance in technology and telecommunications. China’s diplomacy is largely influenced by its ability to transform regional economies through technology.
According to a report published by Asia Times, China’s reliance on energy from the Middle East is the main reason for its immediate concern for regional stability. Beijing is not interested in regional conflicts that could disrupt energy flows. However, Chinese expectations for the region are also to use its economic potential to expand Eurasian infrastructure under Chinese leadership.
Chinese diplomats surprised Western commentators by publishing a joint Saudi-Iranian statement in broad daylight, praising President Xi Jinping’s “great initiative”.
Turkey has expanded its ties with Israel and the Gulf states in recent months and is a key player in China’s strategy.
Trade data show that China’s exports to key countries in the region have roughly doubled over the past three years, underscoring China’s growing influence.
Certain Israeli observers are cautiously hopeful of an Iran-Saudi deal. On March 11, Seth Frantzman wrote in The Jerusalem Post that Turkey was behaving in a similar way to Saudi Arabia. Ankara has been making amends with formerly hostile states such as Israel and the Gulf. This suggests that diplomacy, not conflict, is becoming the norm in the Middle East. A report in the Asia Times says this has been made clear by the Abraham Accords, Negev Forum, I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE, US) and others.
Iran’s leaders have also taken into account Turkey’s recent transformation from sick man of the regional economy to star performer. Chinese trade finance has helped the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan weather a currency crisis that brought the country to the brink of hyperinflation just a year ago. Since 2019, China’s exports to Turkey have tripled.
With the most powerful military in the region and repaired relations with Israel and the Gulf states, Turkey can counterbalance Iran’s regional ambitions (“How Erdogan is making money back”, Asia Times, 20 February 2023).
Fewer than 2,000 people work at China’s only military facility in the Middle East, and fewer than 200 combatants are stationed there.
That compares with 7,000 at the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, 10,000 at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, 3,800 at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and 2,500 at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey , and another 4,000 troops in Djibouti and other places.
What China has that the U.S. does not have is a strategy to reshape the region’s economy through the use of artificial intelligence-guided solar, ports, rail and digital infrastructure.
In early 2022, the UAE ended negotiations to buy the US F-35 stealth fighter jet after Washington demanded that the UAE drop its ambitions to buy Huawei’s 5G mobile broadband system. U.S. experts have asserted that Huawei’s consumer-facing 5G network could be used to spy on U.S. aircraft. The UAE retained its contract with Huawei, but bought 80 French Rafale fighter jets.
An AI-enabled solar network is being built as part of the Huawei Red Sea project signed in 2019. It will power a city of one million inhabitants.
Last week in Barcelona, the Chinese company dominated Mobile World Congress. Senior U.S. officials were sent to the meeting to warn that Huawei’s 5G networks could be used by Chinese spies to gather information.
The U.S. is asking other governments and the private sector to consider the threat posed by Huawei and other Chinese information technology companies, State Department cyber chief Robert Strayer said at a March 1 news conference. “Duplicate, deceitful.”
Turkcell, Turkey’s largest mobile operator, set up a kiosk in the huge Huawei pavilion in Hall 1 to promote their partnership with the Chinese company, which supplies much of Turkey’s broadband infrastructure.
Huawei officials said the U.S. ban on cutting-edge computer chips with transistor widths of 7 nanometers or smaller would have no impact on its global infrastructure business, which relies on mature technology that China can produce domestically, the Asia Times reported. (Arnie)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)