Report: China to Host Gulf Cooperation Council-Iran Summit

    Report: China to Host Gulf Cooperation Council-Iran Summit
    Last updated Mar 13, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that China is planning to host an unprecedented high-level summit between Iran and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) later this year, as Beijing steps in regional politics.
    • Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping reputedly put up the idea for the gathering during a regional summit he attended in Saudi Arabia last December, with the GCC members allegedly welcoming his proposal to cool down tensions with Iran.
    • This report comes a few days after the PRC hosted talks that led to an unanticipated deal restoring diplomatic relations between Tehran and its regional rival Riyadh after seven years of severed ties.
    • Xi is supposedly pushing for the expansion of Chinese influence in the Middle East, focusing on politics in the strategic region while US preeminence dwindles.
    • If the planned meeting between GCC states and Iran takes place and is effective, Beijing would secure yet another meaningful diplomatic victory in the region.
    • Beijing emerged as a mediator in regional disputes in January 2022, when then-foreign minister Wang Yi hosted his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, and Iran, and vowed to strengthen ties with all players based on "common interests and mutual respect."


    Pro-China narrative

    China has just proven that the US style of creating conflict to pit nations against one another is no way to achieve regional peace anywhere, let alone in the Middle East. These nations are fed up with war, and China has offered them an opportunity to slip out from under the thumb of the US and engage in legitimate, autonomous diplomacy with a different global power. This is the beginning of a new era, one in which countries don't have to cower in the face of Western might just to build economic success.

    Anti-China narrative

    While it does seem that China's goals in the Middle East are limited to energy and economic relations, what Beijing hasn't yet faced are the dire security problems that come with doing business in the region. Words like "common interests" and "political dialogue" are all good in theory, but only time will tell if Beijing can achieve these lofty goals in the face of rising militant groups and sporadic conflict.

    Establishment split



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