Global Affairs

China takes another big step into the Middle East ‘vacuum’

A China-Arab summit in Riyadh and an expected visit by Xi Jinping come amid growing interest in a region that’s shifting towards Beijing despite its traditionally close ties with the US. Oil and gas will dominate the agenda but broader strategic calculations are in play as well.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (left) at the G-20 summit in Bali on Nov 15. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Will he or won’t he? For months, diplomats throughout the Middle East have heralded the imminent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the region.

Chinese officials are still reluctant to confirm their leader’s movements. Nonetheless, all the indications are that President Xi will arrive in Saudi Arabia later this week.

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