Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent a congratulatory letter to the Arab League Summit, expressing China’s happiness at witnessing Arab countries taking new steps toward unity and self-development. The summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, aims to strengthen the Arab world through unity and promote peace, stability, and development in the Middle East. President Xi commended the Arab League for its commitment to these goals and highlighted the progress made by Arab countries in their pursuit of unity and self-improvement.
President Xi also appreciated Saudi Arabia’s role as an important force in a multi-polar world. He acknowledged the positive contributions made by Saudi Arabia in strengthening solidarity and coordination among Arab countries and maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East. China values Saudi Arabia’s efforts and emphasizes the significance of collective cooperation in addressing regional challenges.
A significant moment at the summit was the presence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, marking his first attendance in 12 years. This symbolizes Syria’s official return to the 22-nation Arab League, facilitated by China’s mediation. Chinese observers believe that Syria’s return demonstrates the Arab world’s determination to overcome divisions and pursue independent diplomacy through peaceful approaches. They also assert that the US policy, driven by maintaining hegemonic status, hampers peace, development, and the interests of Middle Eastern countries. Amid the increasing solidarity and self-development among Arab nations, such an approach is considered unsustainable.
Various topics related to Syria are expected to be discussed during the summit, including the return of Syrian refugees, the country’s reconstruction, and the official normalization of diplomatic relations with Syria. As reported by Syrian media, President Assad is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with several heads of state. This significant participation by the Syrian president after years of isolation reflects the changing dynamics in the region.
Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, views Syria’s return to the Arab League as a positive outcome of the reconciliation wave in the region. This wave includes the recent resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, driven by China’s mediation efforts. Liu believes that this reconciliation not only promotes easing tensions in the Middle East but also contributes to a transformation in the region’s political landscape, moving away from confrontation.
China’s commitment to peaceful development, coordinated dialogue, tolerance, and mutual learning is gaining traction among countries in the region. This approach is increasingly seen as a viable option to ease tensions and promote development. Liu hoped that such a trend would continue, fostering a positive regional cooperation and growth atmosphere.
The Arab League Summit serves as a platform for Arab nations to address critical issues, strengthen unity, and seek common solutions. With China’s continued engagement and mediation, there is optimism for increased cooperation, stability, and development in the Middle East. The international community will closely monitor the outcomes and developments arising from this significant gathering.
Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed his congratulations in a letter to the Arab League Summit, emphasizing the enduring friendship between China and Arab countries, which has spanned millennia. President Xi highlighted the growing strategic partnership between the two sides in recent years, yielding fruitful results and serving as a model for South-South cooperation and mutual benefit.
President Xi expressed China’s readiness to collaborate with Arab states to uphold the spirit of China-Arab friendship. He emphasized the importance of implementing the outcomes of the inaugural China-Arab summit held in December of the previous year. Furthermore, he called for establishing a higher-level strategic partnership to open a new chapter in China-Arab relations, fostering deeper bonds and cooperation.
The return of Syria to the Arab League holds significant implications, symbolizing a turning point for the Arab world. While challenges persist, this development signals a step towards overcoming divisions, internal conflicts, and strife. Chinese observer Liu Zhongmin highlighted the importance of regional Arab countries participating in Syria’s reconstruction and economic development following its reintegration into the Arab League. The return of Syria reflects a renewed commitment to unity and a growing desire among Arab nations to address regional issues through peaceful approaches.
Zhu Weilie, Director of the Middle East Studies Institute at Shanghai International Studies University, emphasized that the Arab world is embarking on a new era. Member states demonstrate their commitment to unity and determination to stand independently. This renewed resolve to tackle regional challenges peacefully is stronger than ever. This shift signifies a transformative period for the Arab world, characterized by a collective drive towards self-sufficiency and peaceful resolutions.
The convergence of China’s longstanding friendship with Arab countries and the recent deepening of their strategic partnership sets the stage for enhanced cooperation and collaboration. As China and Arab states continue to forge stronger ties, they aim to build upon their shared history and mutual respect. Through joint efforts, they strive to address regional challenges, promote stability, and foster development, ultimately paving the way for a brighter future for China-Arab relations.
The Arab League’s decision to reinstate Damascus into its ranks has met with objections from the US and other Western countries, leading to a diplomatic rift. The US, in particular, has expressed its stance against normalizing relations with the Assad regime and has reaffirmed the continuation of sanctions. This has prompted concerns about the compatibility of the US military presence in Syria and its sanctions policy with the evolving dynamics of regional relations. The demand for US security guarantees in the region has significantly diminished, signaling a shift in the regional landscape.
Zhu Weilie, Director of the Middle East Studies Institute at Shanghai International Studies University, highlights that the US’s persistent imposition of sanctions on relevant countries could deepen the rift in its relations with regional states. The imposition of sanctions, if continued, may not align with the emerging regional trends and aspirations of Arab countries. This raises questions about the effectiveness and sustainability of the US’s approach in the region.
China has called upon the US to set aside its geopolitical concerns and immediately lift unilateral sanctions on Syria. China argues that the long-term involvement of the US in the Syrian crisis, through military intervention and economic sanctions, has resulted in significant civilian casualties and created hurdles for the country’s economic development and reconstruction process. China emphasizes the importance of prioritizing humanitarian considerations and supporting the Syrian people in their efforts to rebuild and stabilize their country.
In addition to the discussions surrounding Syria’s return to the Arab League, the summit also witnesses the attendance of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy’s visit aims to enhance bilateral relations and strengthen Ukraine’s ties with the Arab world. Analysts suggest that his presence at the summit could be driven by the intention to seek humanitarian aid, financial support, and potential opportunities for Ukraine’s food exports to the Arab region. Furthermore, Zelenskyy may also be interested in seeking suggestions from Saudi Arabia on a peaceful resolution to the crisis, taking inspiration from the successful example of reconciliation between Riyadh and Tehran facilitated by China’s mediation efforts.
The Arab League summit is a platform for diverse discussions on regional dynamics and diplomatic engagements. The differing positions of countries, such as the US and China, reflect the complexity of the geopolitical landscape and the varying approaches toward regional issues. The outcomes of the summit and the interactions among leaders will shed light on the evolving dynamics in the Arab world and their implications for global relations.