Towards the beginning of 2016, relations were not good for the Chinese President Xi Jinping to have such a controversial visit of the Middle East . Recent execution of the major Shite minister Sheik Nimr al-Nimr, who was the leading voice of Shiite minority in KAS, and the consequent disjoining of open relations between a few Sunni nations and Shiite Iran came at an especially badly designed time for Xi. His visit to Middle East was to incorporate many stops which included many Sunni states like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Meeting with Sunni influential’s when there are strained relations of Sunnis with Shiite Iran would have made the feeling that China has bolstered one branch of Islam leaving the other in dismay. Such a gesture can greatly undermine Beijing’s policy of non-interference and staunch lack of bias in the Middle East .

It has been a bustling couple of weeks for Beijing’s Middle Eastern strategy. Recently, in past few weeks, before al-Nimr execution took place, Xi, has looked for courses for China to infuse itself into the Syrian civil war, welcoming both the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and also the leader of the rebels, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), in Beijing with an end goal to advance peaceful and diplomatic solution.

Such a hyperactive diplomatic gesture might shock those acclimated to Chinese inclination to maintain a strategic distance from interventionism. Skeptics might say that these are all strategic moves intended to secure prime chances of trade and commerce for China on both sides. There might be little truth to this. Be that as it may, it would be an wrong to ignore Chinese most recent moves in Middle East to be immaculate for monetary advantage.

Understanding that the Middle East is too essential to be ignored and dumped on other powers and that disregarding it could race to Chinese vulnerability. China today is no more to sit on the periphery and let Middle East plummet into mayhem. China for a while has been doubtful regarding USA where elections are to be held along with the low supply of household oil and gas, will not be inspired to save Middle East as it has been for the past half century. As per facts, USA relations with Iran and KSA are excessively prickly, making it impossible for USA to become a legit deal broker. More significantly, Russia has set out the banner of Middle East impartiality that it conveyed for the major portion of the post-Soviet period.

There are a few reasons why the Sunni-Shiite partition is of specific worry to China. As the Middle East is home to a substantial part of the world’s biggest oil reserves, the Persian Gulf area is imperative to the Chinese economy. While the world at present is getting exceptionally low costs oil, this could undoubtedly change ought to the contention in the middle of Sunnis and Shiites keep on rising. Shiites might be a minority in the Muslim world overall, however in the oil-rich Persian Gulf they contain a dominant part. In the event that Iran and Saudi Arabia and its Sunni associates get to be entangled in a territorial war including physical harm to oil companies infrastructure, the crude oil price would touch the roof which is not only harmful for China but also for world economy.

SIDRA KHAN,

Lahore, February 22.