The Crises in the Middle East

A Window of Opportunity for Rising China

in European Journal of East Asian Studies
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Focusing on the evolution of China’s interactions with Egypt and the parties to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, this article aims to understand the contexts that encourage increased synergy between Middle Eastern actors and emerging powers. Based on a wide collection of data and a constructivist approach that negates neither realist nor liberal premises but rather enriches them with the role of ideas and identities, the article posits that the observed developments are constitutive of a reordering of global balances. This reordering is seen as challenging the Western-dominated status quo ante, not through the deconstruction of the international system but rather through a resistance to the Western monopoly over the latter’s evolution and over the production and interpretation of norms.

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References

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Susan Strange, States and Markets (London: Pinter, 1994), p. 25.

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Jalal Mohammed Numan, ‘The China–Arab States Cooperation Forum: achievements, challenges and prospects’, Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (in Asia), Vol. 8, No. 2 (2014), p. 2.

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In 2014, Egyptian exports to China totalled 1.16 billion USD whereas imports from China reached 10.46 billion. In addition, Cairo sells mostly raw material while China trades finished goods.

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See Mohammed Turki Al-Sudairi, ‘Among old friends: a history of the Palestinian community in China’, Middle East Institute (27 March 2015); www.mei.edu/content/map/among-old-friends-history-palestinian-community-china.

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Aron Shai, ‘Sino-Israeli relations: current reality and future prospects’, Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (in Asia), Vol. 5, No. 2 (2011), pp. 24–25.

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Wang Yan, ‘China calls for Palestine–Israel dialogues for peaceful co-existence’, Xinhua (24 May 2011).

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See Lukhozi Luthando, ‘China has muscle to unravel the Israel–Palestine dispute’, The Times (South Africa) (6 December 2012).

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Chen Yiyi, ‘A positive role for China in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict’, China Policy Institute Blog (26 February 2015), University of Nottingham, https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/chinapolicyinstitute/2015/02/26/will-china-interfere-with-the-israeli-palestinian-conflict/.

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Elis Niv, ‘Israel, China launch joint task force for expanding ties’, The Jerusalem Post (30 March 2015). See also ‘China, Israel: Strauss inks water JV with Haier Group’, TendersInfo (8 June 2015).

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Rami Khouri, ‘China’s intriguing Palestine proposal’, The Daily Star (Lebanon) (11 May 2013).

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Coined in Liselotte Odgaard, China and Coexistence: Beijing’s National Security Strategy for the Twenty-First Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012).

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See Weiqing Song, ‘Feeling safe, being strong: China’s strategy of soft balancing through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’, International Politics, Vol. 50, No. 5 (2013), pp. 664–685.

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See Jalal Mohammed Numan, ‘The China–Arab States Cooperation Forum: achievements, challenges and prospects’, Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (in Asia), Vol. 8, No. 2 (2014), pp. 1–21.

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Yao Kuangyi, ‘Development of Sino-Arab relations and the evolution of China’s Middle East policy in the new era’, Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (in Asia), Vol. 1, No. 1 (2007), p. 6.

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Yao, ‘Development of Sino-Arab relations’, p. 17.

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Degang Sun and Zoubir Yahia, ‘China–Arab states strategic partnership: myth or reality?’, Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (in Asia), Vol. 8, No. 3 (2014), pp. 70–101.

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Bin Gu, ‘China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank echoes the world’s desire for a new order’, South China Morning Post (2 July 2015).

Figures

  • Figure 1

    The Chinese ‘One Belt, One Road’ programmeSources: Xinhua, UNESCO, SCMP

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