Beijing seeks to increase influence at China-Arab States Cooperation Forum

Beijing seeks to increase influence at China-Arab States Cooperation Forum

Today, Beijing will host the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, an attempt to strengthen economic and strategic ties between the rising superpower and

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Photo: Xinhua/Nikku

Today, Beijing will host the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, an attempt to strengthen economic and strategic ties between the rising superpower and the Arab world.

China’s efforts to better integrate with the Arab League pairs with the renewed focus it has put on Belt and Road investment in the region amid an incoherent US Middle East policy. Today’s conference will display Beijing’s investment capabilities and track record for funding major development initiatives. China’s work in this regard comes as many states in the Middle East, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, grapple with surging youth populations and investment-starved economies.

Arab League states are looking to accelerate relations that barely existed a decade ago. Growing economic sophistication, access to the world’s largest consumer market and a mounting source of development assistance and infrastructure financing through its Belt and Road Initiative mean that relations between China and the Middle East are expected to continue growing in coming years.

For its part, Beijing is likely to continue its current course of acquiring and investing in major ports and infrastructure projects in the region (and outside it) to boost economic interdependence.

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