|Brief 47: China and the "Arab Spring": a new player in the Middle East?|
|Written by Ahmed Kandil|
China’s first reaction towards the Arab Spring was to “wait and see”. In this Brief, Ahmed Kandil analyses how China has moved from a timid position in Egypt to a more active diplomacy in Syria.
The shift responds to China’s perception of immediate risks to its political and commercial interests, as well as to the safety of expatriate citizens. Moreover, Beijing felt that it had gained nothing but lost everything in Libya after abstaining at the UN Security Council. The “Syrian Spring” was thus seen as a new opportunity to avoid loss of economic and strategic influence. The Brief also analyses how China is reinforcing its strategic position in the Mediterranean at the expense of other external powers such as the US and the EU.
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