NIU Xinchun 牛新春，Research Professor, Director of Institute of Middle East Studies, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR)
Tugrul KESKIN, Professor and Director, Center for Global Governance, Institute of Global Studies, Shanghai University.
The Middle East has always been a crucial region in international politics both as a stage for superpower competition and as region rich of energy resources. Today, China is a increasingly important player in this game also thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). While China’s presence in the region has been growing significantly over the last twenty years, the region is also becoming increasingly dependent on the Chinese market and capitals. In order to protect its interest, China is therefore stepping up its engagement with the region in both diplomatic and, to a lesser extent, military terms.
China’s renewed interest in the Middle East happens at a critical moment. The forceful return of Russia, the uncertainties caused by the Trump administration in the USA, and the sharpening of the competition among regional powers like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey are behind the tumultuous transformations that the region is undergoing today. All these actors look at China in different ways, while some look for a partner, some see a new competitor.
Our speakers will look at China’s role in the Middle East from the Chinese, American, and regional perspective in order to shed light over these complex events and help the audience to better understand the situation in one of the most important and problematic places in the world.