Beijing can ‘help bring stability’ in Middle East

China stands a good chance of becoming an effective mediator in Middle East conflicts but its increasing importance in the region threatens America’s interests , a leading Middle East scholar and former adviser to US president Barack Obama has told the South China Morning Post.

“China has played a constructive role in East Asia. It has used its relations with North Korea to manage tensions,” said Dr Vali Nasr, who is dean of Johns Hopkins University’s school of advanced international studies and a member of the US State Department’s foreign affairs policy board. “China could similarly help bring stability to the Middle East through its relationships, such as with Iran, that the US does not have.”

The Middle East has not traditionally been in China’s sphere of influence. But since the US began a strategy in 2011 to disengage from the Middle East and “pivot towards the Asia-Pacific region”, Nasr said this had given China an opportunity to fill the void.

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