China and the Middle East – Update up to 28/04/2024

The files we follow: China in the Indo-Pacific; China-Russia Relations; Chinese Defence and Taiwan Strait; China and the Middle East; Chinese economic strategies and tendencies; Dynamics and challenges of Chinese international tourism…     


Dear EurasiaPeace readers,

Welcome to our watch on “China’s engagement in the Middle East“! This watch will both be focusing on China’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of which you can find a more complete analysis in our first watch on China and the Middle East, but also explore less discussed signs of China’s growing influence in the region. Enjoy your reading!

– Under cover of unconditional support, a slight distancing from Iran

The attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, attributed a priori to Israel, was “firmly denounced” by China as a “violation of international law”. This was followed by an unexpectedly far-reaching Iranian response on April 13. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed the series of incidents in a telephone conversation on April 15.

The Iranian Foreign Minister assured Beijing of his intention to “exercise restraint” in its response to Israel. In response, Wang Yi said that, while noting its intention to exercise its “right of self-defense” [not recognized under international law], the Chinese side appreciated “Iran’s emphasis on not targeting countries in the region and neighboring countries”. If we analyze this speech, the nuances reveal a slight distancing: China does not affirm Teheran’s “right of self-defense”, but acknowledges its intention to defend itself; on the other hand, throughout Wang Yi’s speech, there is an insistence on the need for disengagement. The Chinese MFA said he was “confident” that “in its efforts to protect its sovereignty and honor, Iran will avoid any escalation”.

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