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The Middle East has a place for China

  • Source: Global Times
  • [08:13 February 18 2011]
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Social revolution is reshaping the Middle East, but China has remained a spectator of this revolution, reducing the diplomatic risks at play. In terms of shaping the future of the Middle East, there is little China can do. The changes in the Middle East do affect the global outlook, with China's interests at play.

Although the US has pretended to support street democracy in the Middle East, its real support lay in a different area to that which was claimed. The US has strongly promoted the expansion of street protests in Tehran, but has not commented on the police repression in Bahrain. The reason for this is that the former is an open enemy of the United States, while the latter is the home of the US Fifth Fleet.

The hurricane of revolution is likely to greatly change the Middle East, and it is difficult to predict which "dictator" will remain standing. Due to this uncertainty, diplomats from the US and other major players have become very active in the Middle East, as they try to ensure continued support for American values in new regimes.

China's trade in the Middle East has grown rapidly in recent years, but China does not seek to affect these nations' political processes. Traditionally, China has had no intention to develop the capability to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

Being a victim of Western countries' interference policy, China views non-interference in other countries as a kind of defense. China is very cautious in wielding its political influence in smaller countries.

Yet the expectations for China's behavior are changing. China's society has more and more resources to help resist external political interference.

Diplomacy should be rational. However, weaker countries usually tend to be rational while stronger countries like to "break traditions" and adopt "double standards." China seems to be the only country that is growing stronger but still adheres to diplomatic principle.

However, as China does not involve itself in the political process in the Middle East countries, it will only be to analyze future advantages and disadvantages in the new Middle East, but will not be able to shape these at first as the US will due to its steps in the region.

However, as the world's second largest economy, it is normal for China to begin exploring changes to its behavior.

China should begin to plan for its influence in the Middle East. In fact, China's development model is attractive to the Middle East since major countries there will enjoy more profits that emerge from China's economic development. China has many advantages in sharing its influence.

Pro-China forces in the Middle East should get more benefits, including political gains, so that future influential figures will adopt a pro-China stance rather than use it as a bargaining chip.

First, this does not conflict with China's principles and second, as difficult as the process may be, it will be worth it in the long run.