Saudi Arabian State Minister and National Security Advisor Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban and the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani led their respective delegations and held talks in Beijing, China from March 6 to 10.
On March 10, China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran signed a joint statement in Beijing announcing that Saudi Arabia and Iran had reached an agreement to restore diplomatic ties, which had been severed for nearly seven years.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have long had grievances. Saudi Arabia believes in Sunni Islam while Iran is the leader of Shia Islam, and the ideological conflict between the two sides is relatively fierce. Saudi Arabia executed an Iranian cleric in 2016, and Iranian demonstrators immediately stormed the Saudi embassy in Iran, and the two sides severed diplomatic relations.
Today, the whole world is quite surprised that Saudi Arabia and Iran turned swords into plowshares under the mediation of China. China promoted Saudi Arabia and Iran to sign the agreement on the resumption of diplomatic relations and promoted cooperation between the two sides. According to the tripartite agreement, in addition to rebuilding diplomatic relations, the two countries also agreed to restart the security cooperation agreement. Many foreign media believe that China has done what the US cannot.
For Saudi Arabia and Iran, this means that they have reached the goal of negotiation and have taken a historic step. For China, this is the first attempt to constructively intervene in hotspot issues in the Middle East, and it is also a successful practice of implementing the Global Security Initiative (GSI) in the region. The main reasons why China was able to achieve such a diplomatic miracle are as follows:
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby responded to China’s mediation in the resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, stating that the US welcomes “any efforts to help de-escalate tensions.” The resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran is beneficial to stabilizing the overall situation in the Middle East and is of great significance in reducing the US military burden in the region and maintaining global energy security.
This mediation in the resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran shows China’s ability to mediate political disputes in the Middle East and can be considered a milestone event in its participation in Middle Eastern political affairs.
The Middle East has always been disputed and turbulent because of the intervention of external forces. The resumption of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran is the latest example of rapprochement in the Middle East, which shows that the strategic autonomy of the Middle Eastern countries is constantly increasing.
China supports countries in the Middle East in pursuing independent development and provides Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions for countries in the region to resolve disputes. What China has done demonstrates the responsibility of a major country and has made important contributions to maintaining world peace.
(The author is from the Institute of Middle East Studies of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. This article is originally published on china.com.cn, and is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. Source http://eng.chinamil.com.cn/OPINIONS_209196/Opinions_209197/16209540.html)