Wang Yi (C), a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, attends a closing meeting of the talks between the Saudi delegation led by Musaad bin Mohammed Al-Aiban (L), Saudi Arabia's Minister of State, Member of the Council of Ministers and National Security Advisor, and Iranian delegation led by Admiral Ali Shamkhani (R), Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, in Beijing, capital of China, March 10, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]
Saudi Arabia and Iran announced a new deal to resume bilateral relations in early March in Beijing. The deal was brokered by China. It is a huge win for the Middle East, as it stabilizes ties between two traditional rivals, who sit on separate sides of the Islamic sectarian debate and have competed with each other for influence throughout the Middle East, resulting in indirect clashes in a number of proxy wars in the region. This is also good news for the people in the region who have been ravaged by decades of wars and upheaval.
China's willingness to broker such a deal shows its willingness to ensure stability and peace in the Middle East, as well as its commitment to building positive ties with every country in the region so as to bring them together.
China is serious about mediating conflicts and disputes throughout the world. The country's foreign policy doctrine is based on non-alignment and rejection of "bloc confrontation," non-interference, respect for national sovereignty, and, likewise, opting for stability over creating chaos. China has long reiterated its opposition to what it describes as a "Cold War mentality" and conducts its diplomacy with the view that countries should not be forced into binary ideological confrontations.
Therefore, when it comes to the Middle East, China wants not to build "exclusive alliances" but to develop warm relations with every single country simultaneously. As such, China also wants regional countries to resolve their differences through dialogue in order to achieve stability. Its mentality is to be a partner of both Saudi Arabia and Iran and it has developed strategic partnerships with both of them, taking neutral ground on their disputes. In doing so, China is building relations and encouraging both countries to resolve their differences "constructively" and to work towards peace, helping to normalize ties.
The recent new trilateral announcement has made a diplomatic breakthrough toward securing a more lasting peace in the troubled region, and it makes it easier for negotiations to move ahead in some of its most deadly and destructive proxy wars, such as in Yemen. However, disagreements and differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia will not be solved by one agreement, and challenges remain ahead. However, the Middle East deserves to have a shot at peace, and China is expected to continue to work for regional stability and development.
The author is a British political and international relations analyst and a graduate of Durham and Oxford universities.