• 16 June, 2024
Foreign Affairs, Geopolitics & National Security
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Growing Influence of China in West Asia

Aashish kumar
Mon, 13 Mar 2023   |  Reading Time: 2 minutes

Does it signal the end of the US hegemony and the dawn of a new multi-polar order?

The political scientists are of the opinion that China under Xi Jinping has come up to be a challenge for the global power ecosystem that has been largely led by the West for decades. This is being reflected through the larger US–China tussle, which is slowly taking shape in West Asia, which has remained one of the largest spheres of influence for the US. The growing influence of China in West Asia can be seen in the following ways: –

  • Energy: Oil remains a critical component of West Asia’s strategic design. Since the US itself has become a net exporter of energy, its reliance on the Middle-East (West Asia) for oil has reduced. China, being the second largest economy of the world, therefore attracts the Gulf-Cooperation Council (GCC). Presently, the GCC provides 40 percent of China’s oil imports, with Saudi Arabia alone exporting 17 percent.
  • Defence and Strategic Affairs: Saudi Arabia is allying with Beijing to construct its own ballistic missiles and the UAE was able to get F-35 fighter jets from the US despite Washington’s concerns over secret Chinese military facility at one of the UAE’s maritime ports. Further, Beijing and Tehran agreed upon a comprehensive strategic agreement (2020) that involved components of both security and economy. China is also working with Israel to tap its human resource potential in the field of high-tech, innovation and defence technologies.
  • Trade: China’s exports to the Gulf region have grown at 11.7 percent annually in the last one decade, enabling China to overtake the US and the European Union as the region’s biggest source of imports. Further, the two-decade-old GCC-China FTA negotiations have received a fillip due to the first China-Arab States Summit in 2022. About 20 Arab states have also shown their interest in the massive BRI project of China, which would pass through the Middle-East.
  • Economic Diversification: The GCC countries have started diversifying their economies to reduce dependence on oil and China is playing an important role in this. For example, development of “smart ports” across the region. The West Asian region is host to largely
    autocratic and monarchic ‘middle powers’ and China is offering money to them without concerns such as human rights, democracy, freedom of press, etc. However, it is too early to declare the end of US hegemony in the region.
  • Presence of Armed Forces: The US armed forces are present across the region with military personnel located in several regional states, whereas China’s current permanent deployment in the region is a naval flotilla, which consists of three ships that are deployed to the Gulf of Aden at all times. It also occasionally brings its naval vessels in parts of the Indian Ocean.
  • Defence Supplies: The US still remains a major security partner of most Arab states and the principal arms supplier. Though China has supplied armed drones to Saudi Arabia, these are only a tiny fraction of the weapons supplied by the US. Amidst the US-China narrative, Russia is also considered as a desirable player in the Middle-East, as it is playing strategic roles in Libya and Syria.

Though it would be too early to declare the end of US hegemony in West Asia, the dawn of a multi-polar world is expected in the near future.



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POST COMMENTS (1)

Kalidan Singh

Mar 27, 2023
China has tried this for a while (dominating). What is the evidence that it has worked to China's advantage? Pakistan? Sri Lanka? Africa? What seems to occur is China spends a lot of money, gets something, and the succumbs to the local culture of corruption. I wish them well.

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