Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Carla P. Freeman
Chapter 17: China’s deepening Middle East relations
With the emergence of China as a global economic power, its footprint in the Middle East has grown substantially. Signs of the increased economic presence of China in the region include construction and infrastructure projects, and the flow of oil and natural gas back to China. While the economic interdependence of China and the Middle East is expected to grow into the future, the strategic implications of China’s increased presence are as yet unclear. It is clear that China’s principal interest in the region is driven by its voracious appetite for oil and natural gas to fuel its skyrocketing rates of growth. Ensuring a reliable flow of oil and natural gas from a part of the world known for its volatile geopolitics has added new complexity to China’s foreign and security policy, not only in managing ties to a conflict-ridden region, but is also affecting and affected by its relations with other countries in Asia as well as its relations with the United States (US). As countries in the Middle East see their own economies develop, China also perceives opportunities in the region to develop new markets for its products, which range from textiles to new energy technologies to military equipment.
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