China’s Extensive Engagement in the Middle East

The Paulson Institute’s Vice Chairman and Executive Director Deborah Lehr participated on a high-level panel at the Middle East Institute’s 73rd Annual Conference, which focused on the region’s engagement with the broader world. It was moderated by David Lawler, Editor of Axios World Stream, and featured His Excellency David Bakradze, Ambassador of the Republic of Georgia to the United States, Intissar Fakir, Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East program, and Aparna Pande, Director of the Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia at the Hudson Institute. The experts offered insights on how the Middle East is working with North Africa, Europe, and India.

As the China expert on the panel, Deborah highlighted the growing Chinese presence in the Middle East. Through the penetration of Chinese technology including 5G and AI, increasing trade and investment in a number of sectors like retail and infrastructure, sustainability, and diplomacy, the extent of Chinese involvement in the region is growing.

Based on China’s wide-ranging involvement in the Middle East, and the scale at which it is engaged—21 MENA countries have signed onto China’s Belt and Road Initiative—the upcoming year will likely see the region and China become even more intertwined.