Saturday, July 14, 2018

For China, the Belt and Road run through the Middle East

The most recent forum with Arab states made clear that the region is increasingly more central to the success of China’s bid for influence through trade and development

SCMP - Saturday, 14 July, 2018

The eighth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) was held last week, bringing the foreign ministers of the 22 Arab League member states together with their Chinese counterpart, State Councilor Wang Yi. Not surprisingly, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was a central focus of the meeting. The CASCF was begun in 2004 as a mechanism to promote Sino-Arab cooperation on political, economic and cultural issues. The Ministerial Meeting takes place every two years, setting the agenda for the next two-year cycle and identifying areas of shared concern. The last meeting, held in Qatar, emphasized the BRI as a means of strengthening ties; this one underscored the importance Beijing has come to place on stability in the Arab world if the BRI is to achieve its ambitious goals.