Sunday, November 8, 2015

China and the Challenges in Greater Middle East - Nov. 10, 2015 Danish Institute for International Studies

China and the Challenges in Greater Middle East 

Tuesday November 10, 2015 

Danish Institute for International Studies   

Tuesday, 10 November 2015, 09.00-16.00

DIIS, Danish Institute for International Studies


Gl. Kalkbrænderi Vej 51A

2100 Copenhagen


Is the balance of power between the USA and China changing in the Persian Gulf? Will China’s increasing economic interest in the Gulf lead to a more activist Chinese foreign and security policy there? What are the expectations from the Arab Gulf States to China and will China cope with them?

Even though the US has provided the security umbrella in the region, its handling of ethnic conflicts and civil wars has irritated members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Political developments, including 9/11 and the Arab Spring, have forced the member states of the GCC to take action to avoid the spread of democratic movements and  reforms, while seeking to handle their own affairs without interference from the US, EU and UN. Problems in GCC–US relations also make GCC states look eastwards for new partners, providing a power vacuum and opportunity for China to edge in.

China has expanding economic involvement in the Gulf, not least in oil: the majority of its oil comes from the Gulf. Although China is trying to diversify its energy supplies from the Middle East, it will remain dependent on the Gulf for years to come. With expanding trade, investment and contract work in the Gulf, China seeks to protect its assets and citizens there. It can no longer follow the old diplomatic strategy of keeping a low profile and keeping business and politics separate. China has learned from crises in Libya and Sudan and changed its policy from non-intervention to active mediation, supporting UN sanctions, contributing to UN peacekeeping missions and securing peacekeeping to protect its oil interests.

Doubts remain both within the GCC and in Chinese policymaking circles as to what extent China should be strategically involved in the Gulf, and China does not seek to challenge or replace the US as the security provider of the Middle East. However, there is no doubt that active pragmatism has become China’s guiding diplomatic strategy and that we will see more political and strategic activities from China in the region. China will take a more active role in fighting extremism at home as well as in the Greater Middle East including Afghanistan and Iraq. How will that play out?


N. Janardhan, UAE

Jiadong Zhang, Fudan University

Imad Mansour, Qatar University

Camilla Sørensen, Copenhagen University, Denmark

Miwa Hirono, Ritsumeikan University, Japan

Jonas Parello-Plesner, author of book 'China's Strong Arm'

Marc Lanteigne, Senior Research Fellow,  Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Ding Long, University of International Business and Economics, China

Luke Patey, Senior Researcher, DIIS, Denmark

Lars Erslev Andersen, Research coordinator, DIIS, Denmark



Welcome and introduction

Lars Erslev Andersen, Research coordinator, DIIS, Denmark


Keynote speeches

Jiadong Zhang, Fudan University. China-the Middle East Relations: New Challenges and New Approach

Imad Mansour, Qatar University. Can China Be a Pillar of GCC Security?

Q & A


Coffee break


China’s activism abroad

Camilla Sørensen, Copenhagen University. China in search of ‘legitimate’ great power intervention

Miwa Hirono, Ritsumeikan University, Japan. China’s proactive diplomacy in Afghanistan: contradiction between the principle of non-interference and the diplomatic practice

Jonas Parello-Plesner, Author of the book 'China's Strong Arm'. China caught in Libyas internal conflict in 2011 - the dilemmas of protecting Chinese nationals and assets




China’s security and business interests in the greater Middle East and international ramifications

Marc Lanteigne, NUPI. China's Diplomacy in the Gulf Region: Energy and (In)Security

Luke Patey, DIIS. Many Chinas, few solutions: Crisis diplomacy in the Sudans

14.30 -14.45

Coffee break


How does China counter extremism at home and in the greater Middle East

Ding Long, University of International Business and Economics, China. China’s encounter with Islamic extremism at home and abroad

N. Janardhan, UAE. Chinas conundrum – piggyback or pay and ride?

Practical information

The seminar will be in English.

Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Please use our online registration form no later than Monday, 9 November 2015 at 12.00 noon.

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