The Asia Times reports that China has joined international calls for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and will be sending a special Middle East conflict resolution envoy to Egypt, Palestine, and Israel. China also has promised $1,000,000 USD to the Palestinian National Authority for humanitarian aid:
“China is an emerging economic power and has to push for increasing its influence in the Middle East,” said independent energy analyst Liu Tao. “Participating along with other world powers in the resolution of the current conflict in the region can help China better ensure its energy security.”
Although a relatively new player in the Middle East, in recent years China has invested diplomatic efforts into cultivating relations with countries in the region. While seeking to carve out a space for itself in a region traditionally dominated by US and British influence, Beijing has concentrated on upgrading economic ties.
Arab countries are currently China’s eighth-largest trading partner. In the Middle East, and in the Persian Gulf in particular, China is no longer viewed just as a source of low-priced consumer goods but mainly as a major market for oil…Today, more than 50% of China’s oil imports come from the Middle East.
For more on Chinese relations with Middle East, see past CDT posts.