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China plays discreet but critical role in Iran nuclear negotiations | France24 |

China is trying to position itself as a key player in the region, and for good cause: It is in Beijing's interest to push for the lifting of US sanctions on Iran, with which it has signed a historic bilateral partnership.

Beijing plays host to Sunni envoys

In addition to the financial aspect, the rapprochement with Iran allows China to counterbalance US actions and to assert its increasing diplomatic power in the region, say experts.

"The Middle East was not a major element of Chinese diplomacy. But this has changed in the last five years with Iraq as a turning point," said Di Meglio. "After the war, China seized the opportunity to take over the exploitation of Iraqi oil fields, which it is currently reconstructing."

At the UN, China is also adding the full weight of its Security Council vote on decisions regarding the region. This includes Iran as well as Syria, with China aligning itself almost systematically with Russian positions favourable to Bashar al-Assad.

In Beijing, too, for the past few weeks, Chinese diplomacy has been working at full speed. Between January 10 and 14, Foreign Minister Wang Yi received no less than five of his counterparts in the region. The heads of diplomacy of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Iran, as well as the Turkish foreign minister and the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), took turns visiting the Chinese capital.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 27th, 2022 at 09:05:58 AM EST
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