Skip to main content

Can China balance ties with Iran and the GCC?

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi must take care not to "underestimate the differences" between Iran and the GCC countries.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, are pictured during the signing of an agreement in the capital, Tehran, on March 27, 2021. Iran and China signed what state television called a "25-year strategic cooperation pact," as the US rivals move closer together.

Marking a turnaround in its Mideast policy, Beijing recently unveiled a plan to promote peace and stability in the region. Completing an official tour of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi conveyed China’s willingness to take on a more proactive role in solving issues in the Middle East.

Announcing the details of Wang's trip, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying stated the purpose was to grow a “synergy between the building of new development paradigm in China and major development strategies in those countries, support regional countries’ fight against the virus and socio-economic recovery, boost high-quality” cooperation on Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, “and discuss win-win cooperation,” as well as to “contribute China’s wisdom to maintain peace in the Middle East.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.