China shares wisdom for Middle East stability: China Daily editorial
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi began a six-nation trip to the Middle East on Wednesday that takes him to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman. This intensive diplomacy has come under the international spotlight prompting speculation that China is seeking the support of countries in the Middle East to counter the pressure being applied by the United States and its allies.
In fact, China has always attached great importance to its ties with Middle East countries. Over the years, it has remained a trustworthy partner to countries in the region and played a constructive role in resolving regional conflicts through dialogue and consultation. Their cooperation in the fight against the pandemic has demonstrated the strength of China's relations with countries in the Middle East and shows China is walking the talk in achieving win-win outcomes in its interaction with the region.
Mutual assistance between China and Arab states during the pandemic has set a fine example of solidarity and cooperation in difficult times. Last year, the two-way trade approached $240 billion as China boasted the largest trading partner of Arab states.
The five-point initiative Wang put forward during his trip last week is characterized by the principles of mutual respect, equity and justice, and marks China's latest effort to contribute wisdom to promote the region's peace and development.
For years, especially after the so-called Arab Spring, the region has become a venue for the tussles between major powers, as well as a victim of these power plays. Intervention from foreign forces, the US in particular, has plunged countries such as Iraq, Syria and Libya into turmoil and provided a hotbed for the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group as well as being the root cause of Europe's migrant crisis.
As part of its proposal, China calls upon the international community to fully respect the will of regional countries and contribute to building peace and stability in the region.
As Wang said, the region is at a crossroad now, and getting rid of the geopolitical competition among great powers is the fundamental way to end the chaos. Outside forces in the region should put aside their self-calculation and stop treating the region as a chessboard in their strategic maneuvering.
China has signed documents on cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative with 19 Middle East countries and is carrying out distinct collaboration with each of them. Other countries should follow China's example and work with regional countries to realize collective security and development cooperation.
Simply perceiving the Middle East through the lens of geostrategic competition has caused chaos and suffering. It is time to support Middle East countries in the pursuit of peace and stability.