SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - JAN. 20, 2016
The first visit of Xi Jinping to the Middle East marks a crucial moment for China’s role in the region
President Xi Jinping is to embark on a whirlwind visit to Iran, Saudi
Arabia and Egypt in his first diplomatic trip of the year amidst
escalating tensions in the region.
The timing of Xi’s visit – coming as Iran and Saudi Arabia lock horns
in their worst conflict in a decade – will thrust China to the
forefront of Middle East politics. Beijing will be closely watched as it
tries to strike a delicate balance between the feuding Tehran and
Both are key oil suppliers to China and crucial to its going out strategy – the much touted One Belt, One Road development plan.
Xi is expected to use the trip to promote the strategy and secure oil supply in the Middle East.
Xi was scheduled to visit Egypt from January 20 to 22, the Egyptian foreign ministry announced last week.