Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China launches diplomatic charm offensive in the Middle East

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to market China as a competitive alternative to longtime U.S. dominance in the region. Xi is expected to be in Riyadh through Friday, mingling with at least 14 Middle Eastern leaders at the Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development and the first-ever Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development. (https://news.yahoo.com/xi-jinping-takes-diplomatic-charm-175547579.html) It’s the latest in Xi’s diplomacy blitz that has included meetings with more than 25 heads of state since he secured a third term as China’s paramount leader in October. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Wednesday described the Arab-China summit as “epoch-making” and said Xi will seek Arab support for his signature Global Development and Global Security Initiatives. The summits allow Xi to position China as a friendly and reliable ally in stark contrast to the frosty fist bump and stern lecture on human rights that President Joe Biden delivered to Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his trip to the country in July.

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