It remains without a doubt that the economic boom that China has witnessed in the last few decades had many implications for other regions of the world, including the Middle East. To fuel its ever increasing production and consumption patterns, and its ultimate search for economic profit, China requires colossal amounts of natural resources, most importantly in its search for energy. Although coal is the most used natural resource to produce domestically needed energy; the import of oil and gas is becoming increasingly crucial to meet the huge Chinese demand.
Considering the strategic impact of energy resources, and its sheer size when compared to the trade in other natural resources between China and the Middle East, I will focus mostly on the effect of energy resources in the relationship between China and the Middle East. It is in my opinion rather unnecessary to analyse how natural resources such as timber or iron ore are being exported or imported between China and the Middle East. It is in my sense also important to limit the geographic scope of this paper. The Middle East is a rather large region, covering over 20 countries. Therefore I will focus mostly on the Arabian Peninsula.
China, unlike our Western counterparts, mostly acts out of economic profit, without taking too much interest in the political situation of a country. Consequently, China has established economic ties with ‘rogue' states such as Sudan, Yemen, Iraq and Iran. This paper will focus mostly on the latter and on Saudi Arabia, since these are respectively the third largest and largest oil supplier for China, with Angola in second position . The energy resources in Iraq have recently also caught the attention of Beijing, and will therefore briefly be touched upon in this paper. Yemen is also a particularly interesting case and will also be the focus of this paper, albeit on a smaller scale
[...] Most examples in that respect can be seen in Africa Conclusion The quest for natural resources will definitely remain crucial for the economic growth of China, and the Middle East will be one of its main suppliers. According to the International Energy Agency, it has been estimated that China will need to import 75% of its energy needs by 2030. Therefore it can be said that China's need for energy will largely define its relations with the Middle East in the following decades. [...]
[...] As a result the economy started to boom and China in the world GNP ranking is the 6th country. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is not even in the first twenty countries. c. China and Iraq Beijing also maintains good relations with Iraq. Both countries established diplomatic ties in 1958, at the end of the Iraqi monarchy, which was ousted by the July revolution creating a republic. In the following decades, despite a number of wars and frequent changes of the government, relations remained more or less stable. [...]
[...] Therefore any foreign investment and expertise would be very needed by Iran, but due to the economic embargo, the imposed sanctions and the difficult relations with the United States, many (western companies) have hesitated to invest in the country. China, unlike most western countries who are prepared to make commercial sacrifices to defend democratic values, is rather inclined to focus on potential economic interests of a country, without meddling in a country's internal affairs. Therefore, in order for china to quench its thirst for energy resources and in order to allow Iran to find much needed capital to develop its energy sector which is greatly suffering from a US embargo and is also under UN sanctions, a few deals have been signed between both countries, not the least in the last few years. [...]
[...] Yemen is also a particularly interesting case and will also be the focus of this paper, albeit on a smaller scale At first sight, the relations between China and the Middle East could be seen as driven by one aspect of natural resources: fossil fuels. It definitely makes sense to think that on the one hand China, whose natural resources are depleting rapidly, is very interested in the colossal amounts of fossil fuels that are stored under Middle-eastern soil. Furthermore, the Middle East represents a new market for Chinese goods. [...]
[...] It would be too easy to say that natural resources define the relations between China and the Middle East. It is interesting to analyze besides the trade and strategic relations, the underlying perceptions between both parties are also quite striking. The economic aspect cannot be ignored, but there is also a social/psychological aspect that is defining the relations between China and the Middle East, especially compared to the United States. Chinese approaches to energy security, export markets and military ties have an important impact on global diplomacy, and can therefore become increasingly be compared to the ‘superpower' role played by the United States on the world stage. [...]
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