Ninth China-Arab ministerial meeting to take place

The ninth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) will be held today via videoconference. The meeting will

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Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo

The ninth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) will be held today via videoconference.

The meeting will be co-chaired by Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Ghei, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Each year, ministerial meetings are held to reunite Arab League leaders with Chinese leadership. Last year, China used the CASCF to announce a $23 billion special loan for economic and development aid to the Middle East.

China sees the Gulf states as an important stepping stone for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to link Asia to Europe and Africa through trade routes and sea lanes. Since the initiative launched in 2013, China has signed BRI-related cooperation agreements with more than a dozen Arab states.

It is unlikely that China will challenge US military power in the Middle East in the near future. Beijing has sought primarily to develop economic interests in the region while refraining from political involvement. Instead, expect China to announce further investments in ongoing energy projects, like its oil shale-fuelled power plant currently under construction in Jordan.

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