The rapidity with which China is doing back-to-back meetings with key countries such as France, Saudi and Iran, China is positioning itself as a broker of “wisdom.”
China is rapidly seeking to play a greater international role. It has been slowly achieving this goal over the last few decades. This week, it spread its wings by hosting Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the President of France. In addition China appears ready to take a more forceful approach with Taiwan and it is involved in other initiatives that are designed to upend the US-led world order that has dominated since the early 1990s.
Countries in the Middle East are paying attention. Local media from Turkey to the Gulf and Iran are all heralding China’s role. This is not a small matter of a few headlines. These countries are putting China squarely on the homepage of their state media websites, in a way they no longer do when dealing with the West. While they often mention the West in terms of tensions or critique, their view of China is positive and growing.
TRT, the state media of Turkey noted that Iran and Saudi Arabia were hosted by China on Thursday in the “first official meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in more than seven years came a month after Tehran and Riyadh agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies by May.” Turkey sees this as a landmark meeting and it will affect Turkey-Iran and Turkey-Russia ties. Turkey has hedged its bets by partnership with Russia on a variety of issues, including energy deals. Ankara will now likely also see China’s new position as impacting its own policies.
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