China and the Middle East

China-Middle East

The China-Middle East Project is an ongoing analysis of China’s increasing activities in the Middle East and their implications for the United States and the region.

The CSIS Middle East program is studying the implications of China’s increasing role in the Middle East. As China becomes a global power and many Middle Eastern countries look for a counterweight to the United States, Chinese approaches to energy security, export markets and military ties have an important impact on global diplomacy. At the same time, the Chinese experience of economic growth without significant political liberalization remains an interesting, if not outright attractive, example for some Middle Eastern regimes. Through seminars in China, the Middle East and the United States, the Middle East Program will evaluate emerging trends and opportunities in China’s evolving relations with the Middle East.



Recent Publications and Events


Gulf Analysis Paper: China's Balancing Act in the Gulf

Wary of the Iran-GCC rivalry and keeping a watchful eye on the United States, China continues to seek to avoid becoming entangled in Middle Eastern regional dynamics. With growing domestic energy demands and a less certain U.S. global role, the balance may prove increasingly difficult to strike.

China in the Middle East

Jon B. Alterman testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Gulf Roundtable: China and the Gulf

China is becoming more consequential in the Middle East even when it does not want to be, according to Christopher K. Johnson and Jon B. Alterman.

Middle East Notes and Comment: China's Hard Choices on Iran

On Iran, China increasingly seems to be the odd man out.

China's Soft Power in the Middle East

The growing importance China attaches to the Middle East puts the country in danger of confrontation with the United States, which has been the unparalleled power in the region since the British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf more than three decades ago.

Middle East Notes and Comment: Beyond the Silk Road

Other than the United States and Iran, the country with the most influence over whether there will be another war in the Persian Gulf may be China.

The Vital Triangle: China, the United States, and the Middle East

The book was preceded by a conference held in Abu Dhabi in October of 2007, which was co-hosted by the CSIS Middle East Program and the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR). The conference convened a range of Gulf, Chinese and American experts to examine Middle Eastern views of the triangular relationship.

Click on the link below to read a PDF version of the book:


Purchase the book here.