By Jonathan Fulton
The Washington Post - August 9
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, his second Middle East trip, after visiting Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt in January 2016. The most significant outcome was the elevation of the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the highest level in China’s hierarchy of diplomatic relations. The visit indicates recognition in Beijing of the UAE’s role as a major actor in Middle Eastern affairs as well as the role it is expected to play in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).