Dr. Vitaly Naumkin
Al-Monitor - June 9, 2014
President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China on May 20-21 culminated in the signing of roughly 50 agreements ushering in a period of unprecedented convergence between the two countries. Does this affect the situation in the Middle East and, if so, in what way?
Everything seems to indicate that the answer to the first part of this question is yes. Seemingly, the Middle East was not the focus of the talks between the two leaders. For all the obvious asymmetry in interests, however, the consensus between Russia and China seems to allow the two parties to seek further coordination in their actions, thus taking each other's concerns into greater account. Such consensus includes Syria, despite Beijing’s lesser involvement on this issue, relative to Moscow; Iran, within the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program; the fight against terrorism and extremism; the creation of a weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East; the condemnation of external intervention and the strategy of "regime change" as well as the push for "color revolutions;" the policy to reach a settlement in the Middle East; and relations with the new Egyptian regime and with respect to the Sudanese issues.