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US will 'protect' its technology against China theft in Middle East: Leaf

Barbara Leaf, top Middle East official at the State Department told Al-Monitor that the Syrian government is participating in the drug trade, and blamed Iran for the failure of the nuclear deal.
Barbara Leaf (L), US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Dana Stroul (C), US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence (DASD) for the Middle East, join a media roundtable in Kuwait City on October 19, 2022. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP) (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said on Thursday that the United States is not demanding its partners in the Middle East stop working with China, but it will act to stop Beijing from accessing US technology via its relations with the Middle East. 

“We are not asking our friends or frenemies to choose between us and the PRC [People's Republic of China]. It’s not the Cold War,” said Leaf at the Al-Monitor Pro event at the National Press Club.

But the senior US official warned that there are "no-go" areas when it comes to cooperation with China. “We do have certain delineations of no-go areas in terms of our own high-end advanced technology … we are going to do our utmost to protect that technology." 

Al-Monitor's discussion focused on China’s increasing role in the Middle East, the Iran nuclear negotiations, Syria’s improving relations with its Arab neighbors and more. 

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