China is engaged in active, high-profile diplomacy in the Middle East, ranging from presidential visits to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran to a mediation effort in the Syrian civil war earlier this year. Beijing's One Belt, One Road initiative to connect major Eurasian economies through infrastructure, trade, and investment relies in part on stability across the oil-supplying states of the Middle East.
The Middle East Institute (MEI) was pleased to host Dr. Pan Guang (Chinese Association of Middle East Studies) for a discussion of the drivers and impacts of China's increasingly complex role in the Middle East, the objectives Beijing and regional capitals are pursuing in their relations, and the implications for the United States.
Paul Salem, MEI vice president for policy and research, moderated the discussion.
Dr. Pan Guang
Vice President of Chinese Association of Middle East Studies
Dr. Pan Guang is vice chairman and professor of the Shanghai Center for International Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, director of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Studies Center, dean of the Center of Jewish Studies Shanghai, and vice president of the Chinese Association of Middle East Studies. He researches and lectures widely on international relations, the Middle East, and Jewish studies and has published numerous books and articles including, “SCO and China’s Role in the War on Terrorism,” “China’s Success in the Middle East,” and “China’s Energy Strategy and Primary Role of the Middle East in This Strategy.” Guang is an international council member of the Asia Society, a senior advisor of the China-Eurasia Forum, and senior advisor on anti-terror affairs to the Shanghai Municipality and the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China. He was nominated by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as a member of the High-Level Group for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) in 2005, and appointed as Ambassador of the AoC in 2008.
Vice President for Policy and Research, The Middle East Institute
Paul Salem is vice president for policy and research at The Middle East Institute. He focuses on issues of political change, democratic transition, and conflict, with a regional emphasis on the countries of the Levant and Egypt. Salem writes regularly in the Arab and Western press and is the author of a number of books and reports on the Middle East, including Broken Orders: The Causes and Consequences of the Arab Uprisings (Beirut: Dar Annahar, in Arabic, 2013) and Iraq's Tangled Foreign Relations (Beirut: Carnegie Middle East Center Report, December 2013). Prior to joining MEI, Salem was the founding director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut between 2006 and 2013.